“Bounty Killer” is not a wholly original film, but, man, it is one wild ride. Part “Mad Max,” part “Grindhouse,” “Bounty Killer” is one of the most thrilling and highly entertaining films of 2013. However, it’s most likely that you won’t be able to catch it in theaters, unless you live in a big city. Beginning Sept. 6, it’ll open in very few locations, but it will also be available on VOD – which is how most people will be able to watch the movie.
Director Henry Saine adapted a screenplay from Jason Dodson’s graphic novel of the same name, which Saine also illustrated and later turned into a short film. Corporate leaders have ruined the world with their nefarious business practices – leaving most areas completely desolate. While they have things their way, a group of people known as bounty killers hunt them down as part of a very competitive sport.
Saine keeps the pretentiousness out of “Bounty Killer,” for the most part. Sure, there’s the obvious “99 percent hunting the one percent” message, but that doesn’t bog down the film. He creates a nifty-looking, grindhouse kind of movie that gives the viewer oodles of blood and then some.
The two well-known bounty killers of this story are Drifter (Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (Christian Pitre). They hunt down all the money grubbers of the world, and when they’re not doing that, they sign pictures and shake the hands of their fans.
These are the celebrities of this world; people love them and what they do. There are plenty who want to assist the bounty killers in any way possible, including Jack (Barak Hardley), a clumsy and obsessive fan of Drifter. Jack is allowed to become the gun caddy, but he’s not having the best time trying to show Drifter how great of an assistance he can be – dropping guns and getting himself in trouble all the time. Hardley is a hilarious addition to the film.
There is a plot somewhere in all the carnage, even if it is minimal and rather formulaic. Mary Death and Drifter do have a history together, but they’ve become friendly rivals as the years have passed. As they try to get more kills, Drifter finds out that he is wanted amongst the other corporate heads, and Mary Death turns on him rather than being by his side.
It helps that “Bounty Killer” doesn’t take itself seriously, which sets up for a lot of tongue-in-cheek moments. People are killed in creative ways – none of which will be spoiled here. And when it comes to trade offerings, Pabst Blue Ribbon is treated like it’s the Holy Grail. It gets better when Gary Busey comes in as a quirky, corporate villain; rap artist Eve dons some face paint and becomes the leader of a gang of gypsies; and Beverly D’Angelo makes a short but important appearance as a bar owner. D’Angelo’s character could have her own film, since there is so much talk about her before we finally see her.
All of the actors involved look to be having fun, and that gives “Bounty Killer” a little extra boost. Saine doesn’t let the small budget get in his way of creating a fun, 90-minute ride with cool action scenes – especially the final one – and treating the brutality with a hint of comic relief, instead of being sadistic.