MPI // 2011 // 79 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // February 24th, 2012
"You guys have no idea what you're getting yourselves into."
Bounty Hunters gives you what you'd expect: choreographed action scenes surrounded by filler that poses as a plot; which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if you're in the right frame of mind. Oddly, though, it looks like the makers of the movie were determined not to give viewers anything more than that.
The first few minutes aren't brilliant, but there's at least some hope. Pro wrestler Trish Stratus, in character as bounty hunter Jules Taylor, is in the middle of a standoff, a gun to her head; a voiceover describes the situation. The presumably humorous lines aren't, but Stratus' delivery is likable enough. From there, Bounty Hunters flashes back to the start of Jules' day, collecting a weightlifter at a gym. Stratus takes on the big bad guy with well-choreographed moves, hinting that she's going to be a sort of distaff Jackie Chan. It turns out that the material doesn't let her give Chan much to worry about, but a series of outtakes with the credits reinforced my notion that Chan's style of action and humor was what Bounty Hunters aspired to.
The plot finds the trio of bounty hunters deciding to turn over a bad guy to worse guys for a million. It's a dumb move, but an abrupt change of heart, which leads to violence (of course), is even dumber. Just about every line of dialogue is loaded with profanity, as if the producers wanted to hedge their bets and make sure they got that "R" rating. There is fighting -- and a flash of bare breast in there somewhere -- but the rating's mostly for foul language and lewd dialogue.
As long as Stratus is fighting, Bounty Hunters is watchable. She says in an interview on the DVD that she was drawn to the chance to do her own fight scenes and talks about the dojo training she underwent. A short behind-the-scenes bit shows you she's having a ball. Trouble is, there's other stuff in a movie. Stratus does about as well as anyone possibly could with the bum script, but anything here that isn't a fight is just annoying. It gets worse for a patch when her partners are on their own while Jules is in the hospital; it's only a few minutes, but it seems like so much more. If you're a Stratus fan and want to see her in action, rent it, but you may end up fast-forwarding to get to those fights (and perhaps the montage of Stratus changing clothes).
IMDb notes that the movie was once titled Bail Enforcers.
For me, the best thing about Bounty Hunters is that it came late in the mail, which gave me the opportunity to rent Drive while I was waiting. Bounty Hunters didn't have much beyond the battling, but Drive turned out to be the right movie for that right wrong frame of mind.
Guilty of being a 79-minute movie that seems long.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R