THE HUNTER’S PRAYER (2017) Blu-ray Review, a movie directed by Jonathan Mostow, written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris, based on the novel by Kevin Wignall, starring Sam Worthington, Martin Compston, Odeya Rush, Amy Landecker, Allen Leech and Eudald Font.
Release Date: August 8, 2017.
“This high octane thriller focuses on a solitary assassin, hired to kill a young woman. When he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger the plan falls apart, setting in motion a twisted game of cat and mouse. Now both are marked for death and forced to form an uneasy alliance. Relentlessly pursued across Europe, their only hope for survival is to expose those responsible for brutally murdering her family and bring them to justice.”
Run Time: 91 min
Format: Blu-Ray, AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 Widescreen 2.39:1
Language: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: Spanish, English (SDH)
The digital film quality of The Hunter’s Prayer looks clean and sharp, like any decent modern Blu-ray transfer. What did hugely disappoint, of course, are the scenes using green screen which take you out of the movie. Not even 4K could fix laziness such as that.
Unfortunately, I do not yet possess a worthy speaker system. Therefore, I wouldn’t be qualified to comment on the mix. As I experienced it, the film perked up dramatically during action scenes, and quieted down during the dialogue. An apt metaphor for the movie itself. Most probably, I could adjust my audio settings and have the film sound perfectly well and balanced, but the standard settings should’ve sufficed.
Blu-ray Bonus Content
* The Cost of Killing: Making The Hunter‘s Prayer – All I hear in this traditional promo-kit is a bunch of grateful filmmakers overly praising their coworkers and being happy they get to be paid to make movies. They call each other geniuses, masters, and basically tell you how great this movie is. Basically, it’s a bunch of bullshit not worthy of your 11 minutes.
* The World of the Hunter – This press-kit explains to you that in order to make a movie, you have to use multiple locations, and that these particular filmmakers chose some very good locations. The actors compliment the production, and try to explain that this is actually a very cool movie. But unfortunately, their acting ain’t good enough. This is essentially 3 minutes of drivel.
*Creating the Driving Force – This 3min clip actually shows something worth watching. The crew is in an alley at 3 am and prepping a stunt where two cars chase each other through narrow cobble-stone streets. I’d say this might be the only thing on the entire disc worth checking out. But then I’d be exaggerating.
The Hunter’s Prayer is your classic B action movie that traditionally goes straight to DVD and lands in the bargain bin at Blockbuster (Blockbuster was a popular rental store for VHS cassettes and DVDs before the world came to an end). While Sam Worthington may be a Hollywood star, simply due to his involvement in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), he never really made a name for himself on his own, by convincing the world that he’s capable of shouldering a movie himself. He’s adequate, he’s interesting enough to gaze at – but that’s where it ends.
The plot of this movie revolves around a murderous anti-hero looking for redemption. The only way for him to do that is to rescue a girl from joining her family six feet under, as there’s a group of wealthy bankers and assassins looking to get access to her parents’ bank account through her, and he’s her only hope. “It’s a race against time!”, essentially. You’ve seen it all before. I wonder if the good guys will win!
Perhaps the most egregious aspect of this production is the cutting of costs in some really unfortunate areas. These are some of the worst interior car scenes ever put to film. At one point toward the end, buffoonish Ella (Odeya Rush) decides to trust Banks (Amy Landecker, playing a xerox of a xerox of the Bourne series’ Pamela Landy character) by joining her on a car trip to the bank. The background looks so bad, it reminded me of Pulp Fiction’s intentionally retro projection background in which Butch takes a taxi home after he throws the fight. They shot these scenes with a green screen, instead of making the effort to ground this action-thriller in reality – which is all that should matter here. If I don’t care about your characters, or can’t believe this is taking place off-set, I’m out. And that’s where this movie loses you, within the first few minutes – too many things are off, in a valley of uncanniness, and it’s hard to engage.
In other words – there may be a car chase in here that clearly has some effort put into it. Or a kitchen fight in which Worthington and a henchman brutally knock each other around while trying to shoot each other in close quarters. There’s a good moment where Worthington actually sincerely portrays a man at the end of his ropes, for just a few glorious seconds. He’s actually good! But none of that matters. Why? Because we don’t give a single shit about this inaccessible, unbelievable protagonist of a girl and don’t have enough to cling to with the quiet, stoic assassin counter-part. There’s failure on both sides, and obviously, the screenplay is to blame more than the actors. It’s just a shame that these B-movies don’t realize that the only way to elevate and pull themselves up to more worthy, significant material is the story and the characters. Make that work, and you win me over – because I’ll actually care.
I would like to just state one more thing here, and it regards the chyrons that appear once we travel from one city to another. They make one of the most outdated, exaggerated, fake “digital” typing noises put to screen since mid-1990s TV shows. This effect doesn’t make me think that your movie is technologically sophisticated or cares about current techno-political issues – it makes me think your movie sucks, and is probably worthy of being relegated to the bargain bin at Blockbuster. If you’ve lost your mind or are 14yrs old, by all means, snag a blu-ray copy of this movie.
Purchase The Hunter’s Prayer here.
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