Bounty Killer is a 2013 film which was directed by Henry Saine. Screenwriting responsibility was split between Saine, Colin Ebeling and Jason Dodson. It is worth mentioning that this film is adapted from Dodson and Saine’s “Kickstart” graphic novel, which was first explored as a cartoon. This movie is classed as an Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller film and runs at 92 minutes. With a rating of 18 on its release, the film contains mild sex and nudity; mild use of alcohol, drugs, and smoking; mildly frightening scenes. It has moderate use of profanities and strong language. It also has severe to frequent use of violence and gore. All in all…. It makes for a good film 😀
In the distant dystopian future, corporations run the world and war with other corporations for power. A ‘Council of Nine’ rises from the ashes of society to form a new law and order. The council orders the death of all white collared criminals and offers warrants, and importantly bounties to anyone who is willing to hunt down these criminals. The age of the bounty hunter has come to the world. Competing against each other, fame and fortune follows the meanest, baddest and most ruthless bounty hunters. Drifter and Mary Death are two of the best, and their paths are destined to cross on the latest bounties that are posted, but it wouldn’t be the first time their paths have crossed and it won’t be the last time either.
Visually this is an interesting film, it is kind of a mish-mash between the “Mad Max” films (1979 – 2015) and the “Borderlands” games (2009 – 2019), maybe also throw in some “300” (2006) amd “Sin City” (2005) too. While it is very apocalyptic and baren, it is also very cartoony and colourful, the world may be on its knees, but it is still a world that seems appealing to be part of.
As far as plot and story goes, it is not massively complex, but it is a fun ride all the same. I enjoyed the set-up scenes and the reveals which appeared though out that showed how the character had developed. The script was well written and entertaining with plenty of fun throw-away lines for this kind of film. The whole thing felt very much in the vein of a modern grind-house/ action-splatter film, I could easily have seen this tied into the Tarantino/ Rodriguez “Grindhouse” movies.
There is no way this could have been done as a serious/ straight film. Comic books and graphical novels can get away being over the top, which is reflected in this film. If something more serious or authentic had been attempted for this film then it would have lost a lot of its fun edginess. The kind of over the top things you will see include the heroes, or more so, the anti-heroes finding creative ways to kill their intended bounties; from making heads explode to sneaky yet meticulous chain of event deaths like the “Mouse Trap” board game from the 80/90s.
It’s probably fair to say that the creators of this film are all heterosexual men, while Drifter is clad to look cool a-la Mad Max, the majority of females in the film are dressed in sexy attire – that is if they are dressed at all. Personally, I have no problem with this, as it is very much in a typical comic book style – just look at your average Marvel or DC comic and see how the women dressed throughout. Bear in mind that this film is a doff of the cap to exploitative movie, don’t come to this hoping for a feminist revolution debunking objectification because you’ll be let down.
The acting talent in this do a decent job in bringing their characters to life. Matthew Marsden is convincing enough as Drifter. He starts out as the rough loner, but he demonstrates other emotions which he keeps hidden for the sake of his bounty hunting pursuits to survive but also to save him from hurt. Christian Pitre as Mary Death gives a good performance and looks good while doing so too. Both Drifter and Mary Death are complex characters which do have character development throughout the film, where they start from and where they end are different places. While these two may be the focal point, the other names around them give convincing performances; Barak Hardley brings the comic relief; Kristanna Loken holds her own as a powerful threat; Beverly D’Angelo, Eve Jeffers, Kevin McNally, Gary Busey – they all do well. The main cast tend to be well refined characters with a bit of depth, of course there are more 2D characters in the film too to act as background noise and cannon fodder for the leads, but that’s expected in a movie like this.
Bounty Killer is kind of a throw-back to a different era of exploitative films but it does it in a very tongue-in-cheek way. With its dystopian and apocalyptic future, it is likely to remind you of many other films making it feel familiar and comfortable. I was not expecting a good film when I started watching this, I was expecting a cheap looking poor man’s “Mad Max” done on a SyFy channel budget. I was not just pleasantly surprised; I was actually entertained and loved the film from start to finish. If you are looking for a ‘leave your brains at the door’ comic book action film with lots of violence and gore and sprinkling of T&A – then you could do a lot worse than give this a go.