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REVIEW: “Bounty Killer”

“A fun-as-f*** thrill-ride through a dystopian wasteland”

In an alternate universe (or the near future), where corporations have taken control over world governments and destroyed civilization through the latest batch of corporate sponsored world wars, the remaining people’s only hope lay in the hands of a select crew of Bounty Killers. These bounty killers are sanctioned by the grassroots “Council of Nine” to execute all white-collar criminals, and compete with one another to see who can stack up the highest body count (and sign the most autographs for their adoring fans). The two top bounty killers are Drifter (Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (Christian Pitre), best friends and sometime lovers – but when word gets out that the “Council of Nine” has issued a death warrant for Drifter, Mary Death is forced to decide what matters most – money & fame, or true love.

Barak Hardley plays Jack LeMans, a bumbling gun caddy who forces himself upon Drifter, and becomes his only friend when Mary Death turns against him, and also is Drifter’s sole backup when they are attacked by nomadic gypsies (is that redundant?). The gypsy battle, which rages in the desert as Drifter and Jack try to escape via a stolen Airstream trailer, is very reminiscent of the hot rod battles of The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2), but the director of Bounty Killer, Henry Saine, takes a much more light-hearted approach than George Miller did. Though packed full of fast cars and gruesome deaths, this movie is nowhere near as dark as Miller’s films, and apparently in the Bounty Killer universe, in the open desert, no one needs to steer… but if you start looking for plot holes or “that couldn’t really happen” moments, then you are missing out on what this film really about – pure andrenaline-fueled entertainment.

In addition to the likable Jack, the hot-as-a-brick-oven Mary Death, and the suave Drifter, the filmmakers also packed the cast with some of the best cameos a genre fan could as for: Abraham Benrubi (if you don’t know the name, you’ll recognize the face), Kevin McNally, Eve, Beverly D’Angelo (as Mary Death’s adoptive mother figure and Madam overseer of the Thirsty Beaver), Gary Busey (looking like he’s having the most fun since he kicked Mel Gibson’s ass in Lethal Weapon), and oh, if you are truly a sci-fi/action fan, the sexiest Terminator ever, the T-X herself, Kristanna Loken.

From the opening moments the body count piles and piles until the last death-defying battle. The only point where the movie slows was during the flashback sequence where we watch Drifter and Mary Death falling in love… but to the filmmakers’ credit, just about as soon as the sappiness enters, it is swiftly dealt a nearly fatal blow, and we are back to the action.

Shot in an astounding 18 days, sometimes with 3 production units running at at time, you would be hard pressed to find as much fun in many of the action-comedies of the last few years. Originally the film was planned as an animated project, but I am glad they were able to make a live-action movie out of the story. Christian Pitre, in her first starring role, is truly the stand-out in this film. She’s not only gorgeous to look at, but also amazing to watch in awesomely choreographed fight scenes. I am confident we will be seeing more of her. In fact, I hope to see much more from all those involved in this film, especially the writer Jason Dodson, director Henry Saine, cameraman David Conley, and animators Jason Phipps and Henry Saine.

The film is a complete thrill-ride. Switching between genre-perfect cinematography and “Sin City”-esque graphic novel CGI, the audience is pulled into a comic book world that you never have to take seriously. It’s got all the cars, guns, blood, & guts, more head explosions that I could count, and just enough boobs to make you “Cheers” – but sadly lacking any full frontal male nudity, or even any man-ass for the ladies. If you can’t enjoy this movie, then you’re already dead inside.

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