Bounty Killer – Film Review Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2013

Bounty Killer
Bounty Killer

October 18 2013 – Could it be, that the future that’s presented in Bounty Killer, a future where corporations fueled by power and greed have usurped the world’s governments is, dare I say it, slowly coming to fruition here on earth.  Playing fast and loose with this cinematic timeline is downright plausible in the eyes of many given the recent corporate bailouts. To many in the know, a certain unsettling clarity underpins the premise of this narrative. Anchored by super slick animated interludes in the vein of ARGO and HULK, the graphic novel sequences helps set the stage for so much espionage and mayhem to follow in this shoot’em up joyride.

In 2042, the world’s wealth is siphoned off by corporations giving rise to the “Corporate Wars”.  Top executives raid their corporate coffers then abandoned their armies to parts unknown turning the world as we know it into an apocalyptic wasteland. From those ashes rose The Council of Nine to avenge the corporation’s reckless destruction and giving hope and retribution to wasteland survivors.  The council issues death warrants for all white collared criminals and thus the rise of a new breed of celebrated mercenary was born. From plundering to paydays and in between all of this, escalating body counts and road warrior chase sequences keeps audiences engaged. Bounty Killer is a hard hitting mash-up where Westworld meets Mad Max with a loving nod to the 60’s sexploitation director Russ Meyers. Throw in some 70’s soul with a little retro Brit and this fuel-injected vision just shifted into overdrive.

Bounty Killers have become the last line of defence and Drifter (Matthew Marsden), was the very first bounty killer. Teaming up with him is Mod inspired sex-kitten Mary Death (Christian Pitre), who has gone from being Drifter’s protégé and lover to being the most popular killer of them all.  This former gypsy is now transformed into a pin-up killing machine.  A cross between La Femme Nikita and Uma Thurman (Kill Bill Trilogy)Mary Death ups the body count as she rocks her badass mojo. When Drifter winds up on The Wanted list everything thing changes as he sets off with his trusty gun caddy (Barak Hardley) on a treacherous journey across the Badlands on a suicide mission to reach the Council of Nine to plead his case.

The graphic novel aesthetic of Bounty Killer translated on film is executed with such detail, not since Frank Miller’s Sin City and the trifecta of David Gibbons, Alan Moore and John Higgins collaboration on Watchmen has a movie push the graphic novel agenda with such gusto.  The brainchild of Jason Dodson and illustrated by Henry Saine shows just how deep the roots of Bounty Killer runs. Fanboys of this sub-genre will most certainly get an early buy-in. That being said, Bounty Killer is not without its faults. Editing miscues aside, Director Henry Saine at times has embraced the “more is more” style of filmmaking that inevitably oversaturates action sequences with a kaleidoscope of incoherent noise and senseless distractions. The mixture of humour and gore can be a potent combination but one still needs the language of film to tie it all together.  Saine generously gives us that in the first act then leaves us wanting throughout. As cameos go, Eve served up mad fierceness as the gypsy queen Mocha Sujata and the demure elegance exuded in Beverly D’ Angelo as Madam Lucille character reaped instant cred. Gary Busey on the other hand – god lov’em – has long since passed his cinematic prime.

Verdict: 3.5 out of 5:  Bounty Killer offers up multiple bounties of sexy cool eviscerations in all its graphic splendour. Saine sinks his hooks into hard in the opening stanza with a poetic graphic sequence that lingers long after it ends.  With a solid ensemble cast, ultra-gory battle sequences and a catch me if you can sub narrative, Bounty Killer’s juggernaut of destruction delivers right to the end. And through it all, actress Christian Pitre delivers the femme fatale performance we expect in a futuristic heroine.

Final Thought: Mod is the new God.

Genre: Post-apocalyptic Action
Country: USA
Language: English
Director: Henry Saine
Screenplay: Jason Dodson, Henry Saine, Colin Eberling
Story: Jason Dodson
Producer: Jason Netter, Colin Eberling, Henry Saine
DOP: David Conley
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Cast: Matthew Marsden, Christian Pitre, Beverly. D’ Angelo, Gary Busey, Kristanna Loken, Barak Hardley, Abraham Benrubi, Eve Jeffers, Kevin McNally.

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