Review | Hunt to Kill

I’ve always been a fan of bad but good action films and often go searching for the latest straight-to-DVD masterpiece from the likes of Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme.

“Why?” you ask, “No, seriously Liam, why in god’s name would you do that?” Well it’s actually quite simple, they just don’t release that style of action film in the cinema anymore.

I remember the good old days throughout the 80s and 90s when you could visit your local cinema and you’d often have the choice out of multiple bare-knuckled, badly acted, thinly plotted, explosion-fests. Not a crime drama, or an epic Sci-Fi adventure, or even a light-hearted “action” romp with an all star cast.

Now we live in a sad world where people insist that before two large men can beat the crap out of each other, there has to some kind of overly complex or dramatic plot and god forbid if it’s anything higher than PG-13 (M+15).

Well things are different in the land of rainbows, sherbet, and Straight-to-DVD! In this magical land, all our favourite terrible action stars are still hard at work saving kidnapped daughters and seeking revenge for murdered partners; simple, wholesome, disgustingly violent movies.

Steve “Stone Cold” Austin is keeping the dream alive with his third (in a row) mindless beat’em up, this time as the constantly scowling but misunderstood Border Patrol officer, Jim Rhodes. As opposed to his previous legendary roles as the constantly scowling but misunderstood ex-con, John Brickner in Damage and the constantly scowling but misunderstood wrongly convicted death row inmate, Jack Conrad in The Condemned.

Hunt to Kill follows one of the classical plots that, while I’m not completely familiar with all his work, I’m pretty sure is Shakespearean. It’s the old “Oh crap some criminals on the run after a robbery gone bad have decided to kidnap my daughter. I guess it’s time to kick some ass!” plot.

Now this would be where said Ass-kickery would kick in. However in what can only be described as completely out of left field disappointment, Hunt to Kill is… total and utter crap. Yes, despite two previously “bad but good” smash-fests, “Cold Stone” has let us all down.

It’s the first lesson in Action Films 101, don’t be boring. However after the villains proceeded to order the hero and his daughter around the woods for an hour while constantly bickering with each other for seemingly no reason, I got the worrying feeling that “the Cold man” might not actually get to bash any skulls.

Of course I was thankfully wrong, the film does finally kick into gear in the final half hour with an amusingly un-killable villain and a couple of half-decent fight scenes, one of which ends with “Stoney McColdstein” stabbing a dude through the chest with a tree branch, while gravelly delivering the line, “Sorry I can’t stick around”.

Despite that masterpiece of dialog, the film is just plain boring. This poor Cliffhanger rip-off actually might have me re-thinking my love of “bad but good” action movie. At least until the next time I’m channel surfing at 2am and stumble upon Commando.