MOVIE: THE HUNTER'S PRAYER
STARRING: SAM WORTHINGTON; ODEYA RUSH; MARTIN COMPSTON; ALLEN LEECH
DIRECTED BY: JONATHAN MOSTOW
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
It's funny that The Hunter's Prayer is directed by Jonathan Mostow, the same man who helmed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. I mention this, because the plot in this movie would have been a perfect fit for a young Arnold Schwarzenegger action-flick. Instead, we get Sam Worthington in the lead, in a story about a hitman hired to kill a teenage girl, but because he has a daughter of his own, and wants to make up for past mistakes, he protects the target from other hired killers. A plot like this would have been perfect for the Govenator to drop some one-liners in, but instead we get a straightforward action-drama that is anything but fun. There are a few solid chase sequences and that's about it. The Hunter's Prayer is slapped together, with nonsensical violence, multiple settings that have nothing to do with the plot, and acting that would be better from actual machines.
Things start quite unpleasant, a hitman enters a home and murders two people. They turn out to be the parents of Ella Hatto (Odeya Rush), who is attending a boarding school in Switzerland. Why Switzerland? This movie doesn’t really care to tell us why she's located there, but we soon find out that a corrupt wealthy business man by the name of Richard Addison (Allen Leech) has put a price tag on Ella's father and anyone else in his family. Worthington plays hired gunman Stephen Lucas, a drug addict and a pretty good shot. When he sees Ella, he decides that he's going to protect her, which leads to a whole lot of shootouts with the other bad guys, in a movie that has zero regard for bystanders caught in the crossfire.
The Hunter's Prayer is not lacking in action that kept my attention. There's a lot of bloody violence, shootouts in the middle of a diner that thankfully has zero customers or employees, multiple car chase sequences, including a scene where a hitman is mercilessly run over by a Volvo. That may work for some, but what fails entirely is the acting from Worthington and Rush. The two look about as happy to be stuck in a movie together as I was stuck watching this thing. The Avatar star lacks the ability to change his body language past a painful grimace, as his career continues to be a poor mans Joel Edgerton, but slightly better than Jai Courtney's. And Odeya Rush, who is somewhat of an up and coming actor, is given very little to do here. Her character is subjected to the role of permanent damsel, while constantly holding a startled and shocked look on her face.
The direction from Mostow is riddled with continuity and logistical mistakes and the script from Paul Leyden never cares to build these characters. Cliches of Lucas' PTSD from past military experience are wedged in out of nowhere, while nothing has been clarified about why Ella is going to school in Switzerland, or why she's being shot at by mysterious men. Soon after, her and Lucas stop at a home to rest and use the bathroom. What might be the most surprising revelation of this movie, is that the bathroom has a land-line telephone next to the toilet! Do you know many people that have a phone in their bathroom? Let alone a land line in 2017? That may be knit-picky, but this is just one of many ridiculous problems The Hunter's Prayer has.
On the surface, this could have been a movie that had some fun, brought us back to the 80's action movies of old, but instead we get a pointless affair. This year we have been thoroughly entertained by films, such as John Wick: Chapter 2, which changed the way we see the action genre, where this movie does everything opposite of that. We barely care about our characters, the gun fights are tedious, and the films sentimental ending will draw out a big audible groan. The Hunter's Prayer is not a complete waste of time, but if you're expecting me to recommend it, you would need to ask the all mighty for some kind of miracle.
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady