Review: BOONE: THE BOUNTY HUNTER Jumps The Action Movie Shark


Plainly, simply, I've never seen a John Hennigan film until this week with the forthcoming VoD release of director Robert Kirbyson's latest, Boone: The Bounty Hunter. That said, while it is acknowledgeable that filmmakers generally rely on name-talent to carry an action film, it certainly helps if the principal talent makes it look as natural and easy as one can, which Hennigan is certainly good at and it makes me all the more thankful.

With that in mind, and for this kind of film, dynamic action and stuntwork are pretty much the primary selling points of this film along with some of the grand comedic gags that occur for most of the movie. It's not necessarily a bad thing if your expectations are short, but it still leaves a lot to be desired if you don't have an ample script and supporting cast to help bolster a film's progression, and gladly, Boone: The Bounty Hunter, give or take, has that end mostly covered.

With Hennigan in the title role, our story sets us right at the precipice of Boone's eroding television career as a reality star bounty hunter. Having earned his fame and fortune through his love for the thrill of a chase, word finally gets around of his show's cancellation from low ratings, imploring Boone to give his flailing show just the spike it needs to regain viewer interest. They embark on an overnight trip to Mexico to catch the son of a ruthless cartel leader, but danger and instant death lurk at every corner, and soon enough our reality star action hero will find himself fighting for much more than a second chance at TV stardom.

Noticeable, first and foremost is Hennigan's prowess. It's on full display for most of the movie and he presents it with great skill between parkour sequnces and the film's fight action and stunts designated by Brady Romberg and his team. The editing fails largely during the action scenes with actors T.J. Storm and Lateef Crowder, leaving choreography to pick up the slack, and you're either pleased with what you see, or you're not. Brillantly shot freerunning anchors the comedy end of Hennigan's delivery as a self-absorbed TV star with one-liners coined accordingly for each of his on-screen arrests.

The wrestler/actor isn't the only leading cast member getting in on the action with Osric Chau and Spencer Grammer in the roles of Denny and Kat. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson chews up a bit of dialogue in the role of...well, Jackson. Most of the acting is serviceable when it counts but don't hope for anything more than wooden when it comes to the drama, save for when the action and fun kick in or when Hennigan has his shirt off if that's your sort of thing.

Seasoned types like actors Corbin Bernsen get in a few minutes of their own making the film worth our while as does Lorenzo Lamas who plays a bartender reluctant to start fights with people he can't finish, and he's got the scar to prove it. Richard Tyson paves the way for some serious villany in the role of Cole Davenport whose grip on the Mexican town of his operation are just one of the key ingredients for the risks our heroes face on their quest next to actor Jonathan Lipnicky who plays his spoiled rotten fugitive son, Ryan.

The film will undoubtedly have you laughing when you need to, and you'll be thrilled by much of the film's action. The stakes, however, are also an important element for a film like this to work where and when it can, and there are definitely a few moments, the best of which include actor Max Weideman who stands out as Boone's biggest fan apart from the plethora of hot women waiting to get their breasts autographed.

As much as one could probably want to hate this film - and said person wouldn't be completely wrong if they did in some capacity - Kirbyson's presentation is an adequate one. A lot of low budget films tend to suck and only a good handful can manage their buoyance, whereas Boone: The Bounty Hunter teeters from time to time. Most of the action sells and we have a lead actor whose acumen for physical atheletic performance equally measures his charming veneer. The rest falls on basic acting ability which varies in measure among our cast, which can make or break your viewing experience here.

It's worth noting that Hennigan's skillset and performance overall ought to make him a viable screen presence for any producer looking to cast an actor with a heavy knack for making action look as fantastic as he does. For this, I would be surprised if he didn't get his chance to share screentime with the likes of Tony Jaa and Donnie Yen, or even Iko Uwais for that matter. It's not often we have Westerners breaking through that glass ceiling who are capable when it comes to action. At current we have people like Amy Johnston, Scott Adkins and Alain Moussi all leading their own respective vehicles and the momentum is great for these three, it seems.

All that's needed now is for Hennigan to sharpen up with more roles that can service a bit more on the needs of his acting range, on top of skilled people to help keep action prevelant and entertaining. For what its worth, as far as I'm concerned, Boone: The Bounty Hunter is not a bad move. Feel free to score yourself a viewing when it it hits VoD this week on Tuesday, May 9.

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