Anchor Bay // 2010 // 97 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 9th, 2010
Survival of the baddest.
Steve Austin (The Expendables) stars in an beat 'em up that's one part Cliffhanger, one part Firestorm, and two parts deer turd.
Austin is Jim Rhodes, border patrol agent, exasperated father, and compound bow enthusiast. When he goes to scoop up his troublesome daughter at the sheriff's office for another shoplifting charge, he's shocked to walk into a stand-off. A group of thieves have come up north to track down some money and they've got Jim's little girl as a hostage. They force him to take them into the woods as their tour guide and bring along his daughter as insurance. Unfortunately, they fail to bring rope or bungee cord to secure Rhodes' hands, an oversight they will pay for dearly.
Hunt to Kill is moronic...which I'm guessing is the first thing that occurs when you see a nonsense title like this. For more exciting forest thrills, I recommend wandering into the nearest wooded area and throwing pine cones at squirrels, because what lies in wait is a 97-minute digital colonoscopy; a straight-to-DVD action film that skimps on the action and pumps up the dumb.
Everyone here is stupid: the daughter for not getting away when she had multiple opportunities, the bad guys for letting a muscular bad-ass wander about unbound, the authorities who can't get their crap together and pursue the scumbags that murdered the sheriff, and Rhodes himself for making his job a whole lot harder than it should be, shouting at the villains before he shoots them with arrows.
The biggest dumbass? Banks (Gil Bellows, Ally McBeal), leader of the thieves, who manages to outpace his awful decision-making with a total lack of self-preservation. When he and Rhodes inevitably battle at the end, Rhodes leaves him alive repeatedly. But instead of regrouping to return to the Rhodes house in the dead of night and set everyone on fire, he returns, talks trash, and SPOILER! stands motionless in the path of a slow-moving ATV while holding his arms over his eyes and screaming like a nine year-old girl.
I can swallow a large amount of inanity in my action movies, if the mayhem is partially interesting. Not here. The fattest transgression of Hunt to Kill is that the action sucks. There is exactly one good fight, a nicely done bout between Austin and a burly bad dude. Beyond that, nothing, not even the final showdown, which is loud, long, and boring. In fact, this Banks guy is actually responsible for more deaths of his minions than the hero!
The silver lining? If you should decide to indulge in this hokum, you have a genuinely beautiful HD video transfer to enjoy. The 1.78:1 1080p treatment is shockingly good; a finely detailed, robustly colored slice of pixel rendering that gives the (limited) action and non-stop foliage some serious pop. A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix complements the PQ nicely, though the score is achingly generic. Extras: commentary with director Keoni Waxman and actor Michael Eklund, and a standard-issue behind-the-scenes featurette (in HD).
Impressive tech does little to distract from the dullness of this dispensable actioner.
Guilty. Hunting license revoked.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R