Bounty Killer: Film Review

Fanboys should appreciate both the humor and bloody excesses of this cheesy but entertaining sci-fi actioner.

This graphic novel–based, futuristic action movie concerns hired guns who target white-collar criminals.

Bounty Killer is based on the 2012 graphic novel by Jason Dodson and Henry Saine, and its freewheeling visual style and ample use of animated interludes well befit its origins. This sci-fi actioner is cheesy to the extreme, from its scantily clad, tough-as-nails heroine aptly named Mary Death to its supporting cast, including such familiar faces as Gary Busey, Beverly D’Angelo, Kristanna Loken, Alexa Vega and the rapper Eve. Thankfully, it never takes itself too seriously, and its well-staged, Max Max–style high-speed chases and shoot-outs should well please genre fans, most of whom will catch up with it on VOD and home video.

Set in the usual post-apocalyptic landscape, the film takes place after "The Corporate Wars," in which big business has taken over the world’s governments. Fighting back is an entity dubbed the "Council of Nine," which hires bounty killers to ruthlessly assassinate white-collar criminals.

Foremost amongst them is Drifter (an engaging, laid-back Matthew Marsden) and his former protégé and lover Mary Death (the gorgeous Christian Pitre, who spectacularly fulfills her role’s physical and athletic demands). When Drifter discovers that he has himself become a target, he and Mary team up to battle an endless array of lethal opponents, including a band of gypsies led by Mocha Sujata (Eve). Accompanying them is Drifter’s trusty if bumbling “gun caddy” (a very funny Barak Hardley) whose ample girth makes him particularly fearful of cannibals.

In between the numerous ultra-gory battle sequences, which feature a copious amount of blown-off heads and severed limbs, the film features frequent clever touches, such as a six-pack of Pabst’s Blue Ribbon beer being treated as a sacred object.

Director Saine displays ample talent for staging the violent mayhem despite an obviously low budget, especially in a particularly imaginative sequence in which a bloody battle takes place in total silence behind glass walls during a tense conversation between two of the principals.  

It’s all utterly silly and derivative but also undeniably entertaining. From Busey’s enjoyable self-mockery to Eve’s cartoonish fierceness to D’Angelo’s seen-it-all barkeep, the performers fully embrace the ludicrousness of the proceedings with an enthusiasm that becomes infectious.

Opens: Friday, Sept. 6 (ARC Entertainment)

Production: Just Chorizo Productions, Kickstart Productions

Cast: Matthew Marsden, Christian Pitre, Barak Hardley, Kristanna Loken, Eve, Gary Busey, Beverly D’Angelo, Alexa Vega, Kevin McNally, Abraham Benrubi

Director: Henry Saine

Screenwriters: Jason Dodson, Colin Ebeling, Henry Saine

Producers: Colin Ebeling, Jason Netter, Henry Saine

Executive producers: Des Carey, Tucker Moore

Director of photography: David Conley

Editor: Martin Bernfeld

Production designer: Michael G. Gallenberg

Costume designer: Dan Selon

Composer: Greg Edmonson

Rated R, 86 min.