Hunt to Kill

Since it’s the International Women’s Day today, I thought I’d celebrate it by reviewing something … exceptionally manly. Face facts: these days, most movies are aimed at both genders, and especially toward young women and girls. It’s pretty damn hard to find any new movies that are manly; that smell of sweat and tobacco. Like the action movies did back in the 1980s. But I found one! A movie about middle-aged men, for middle-aged men, and released straight to DVD late 2010. Gentlemen and slobs, I give you “Hunt to Kill”. “Hunt to Kill” stars the three main bad guys from Sylvester Stallone’s epic actioner “The Expendables”: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Gary Daniels and Eric Roberts. However, this time, the Titanic Texan Steve Austin is the hero — he plays U.S. Border Patrol agent Jim Rhodes.

In a prologue, Jim and his colleague Lee (Roberts) are about to check out an abandoned trailer. Lee is very friendly, a nice guy, and he gives Jim a watch, but since Lee is played by Eric Roberts, I immediately think “Okay, this guy is dirty!”. But lo and behold: he’s not! You see, just a few minutes later, Lee and Jim enter the trailer, which turns out to be a drug lab, and Lee is shot by a bad guy — and killed when the trailer blows up. Yes, folks! Eric Roberts’ character dies already in the prologue! In other words, Roberts did yet another Phone In Performance. After the opening titles and the theme music that’s very reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith’s “It’s a Long Road” from “First Blood”, complete with a very similar guitar intro, we meet agent Jim again and it’s four years later. He’s divorced, he’s mourning the death of Lee, and his teenage daughter thinks he’s a schmuck. Then we’re introduced to another gang of characters — the bad guys: A handful of people who have stolen lots of money and are on the run. Well, one of them is on the run; one guy double crossed the others and took off with the cash, and now the others are hunting him down. The baddies are led by the psychotic Banks (Gil Bellows), and among the others are a silent Brit called Jensen (a Danish name), who’s so evil he smokes cigarettes (but he doesn’t seem to inhale, and he never seems to finish them; he just lights them up all the time), and a blonde chick called Dominika, who’s played by Emilie Ullerup — who actually is Danish. The baddies end up in the Montana wilderness, where they commit the biggest mistake ever — they kidnap Jim’s daughter. And since Jim knows the area better than anybody else, he says “When I hunt … I hunt to kill!” and hunts down Banks and the others. The plot of this movie may be a tad simplistic, and so is some of the dialogue — I really can’t tell if I like Austin as an action hero or not, but to be perfectly honest, “Hunt to Kill” is actually quite satisfying as violent, manly action entertainment. The movie is directed by Hawaiian Keoni Waxman, who’s made the Steven Seagal flicks “The Keeper” and “A Dangerous Man”, and the Dolph Lundgren starrer “Sweepers” (interesting fact: Dolph’s character was called Jensen in “The Expendables”), and it more or less plays like a fusion of “First Blood” and the Tom Berenger thriller “Shoot to Kill”. This feels like a 1980s actioner — and that’s a good thing. There are no pretty boys here, almost no women; just adult men who slug it out “Commando” style. Steve Austin uses some nifty wrestling moves, while Gary Daniels prefers martial arts, and when Austin and Daniels clash near the ending, we get a really brutal fight. Another thing I liked about this little movie, is that Banks is a real creep, he’s totally insane and really made me cheer for agent Jim. “Kill the bastard, Jim!” Oh, and I noticed that Jensen does the “reversed V-sign”, which most people around the world think is the Victory sign, but actually is the British sign for “F*ck off”. There are lots of photos of European ministers, presidents and similar people, smiling at the camera and flipping two fingers telling people to go to hell. “Hunt to Kill” isn’t a classic, but it’s a fun, entertaining and very painless way to kill an hour and a half. Check it out a rainy afternoon before you go out to hunt to kill.

Photo of Steve Austin from Wikimedia Commons