There are a lot of movies that come straight to video that feature A-list actors, but for some reason they bypass the theater. More often than not it’s pretty obvious why, but some of them are actually pretty entertaining for what they are. The latest Killing Season features Robert DeNiro and John Travolta in a revenge action thriller, but could these two aging stars deliver or will it be quickly obvious why the hunt ended on the shelf?
Killing Season follows a reclusive American military veteran and a European tourist who strike up an unlikely friendship deep in the Appalachian mountains. But when the tourist's true intentions come to light, what follows is a tense battle across some of America’s most forbidding landscape proving the old adage: the purest form of war is one-on-one. The story here is pretty simple and works fine for what they are going for despite some lacking historical accuracy in its backstory. DeNiro gives a decent enough performance but never really seems to put forth the ability that we all know he has. He seems to phone it in a bit just giving enough to make it work as opposed making it effective. Travolta does fine and has become king of getting visually into character, but despite a valiant effort his accent throughout the film along with the sometimes silly dialogue makes his performance a bit of a distraction. The opening of the film sets a bad tone as it looks like some low budget straight to TV film, but once you get passed the long drawn out slow paced attempt at character development things pick up a bit. If you can let those things go and just focus on the deadly revenge hunt that makes up the second half of the film it’s not all that bad. They never step it into unbelievable territory, but instead allow each of them to have their moments making for some pretty fun old school action. At this point in the film these guys seem to wake up a bit and started having a good time.
This is far from a perfect film, but for a rental it’s really not all that bad. It’s a far cry from their past work and hopefully not the end, but it does manage to entertain despite its numerous flaws. The ending is a bit of a disappointment, but attempts to give these characters the redemption they are trying to find, but after everything prior you are wanting so much more. If you like either of these guys and most people do, give this film a chance and just watch it for what it is as opposed to what you hope it to be.