BOUNTY KILLER review by Mark Walters – low budget fun that doesn’t look low budget

BOUNTY KILLER review by Mark Walters – low budget fun that doesn’t look low budget


Earlier this year at the Dallas International Film Festival, I had the pleasure of hosting not one but two Q&A sessions with the star and creative team behind BOUNTY KILLER, a movie I knew nothing about ahead of time, but had heard was quite fun… and boy was it ever. Sometimes movies that show on the festival circuit either disappear, never to be seen again, or go quietly to home video without average moviegoers getting a chance to experience them. BOUNTY KILLER is opening this weekend in select theaters across the country, and I’m here to tell you why it’s worth a look.

The plot of this post-apocalyptic piece may appear complex and layered, but in a good way. It’s been 20 years since the corporations took over the world’s governments. Their thirst for power and profits led to the corporate wars, a fierce global battle that laid waste to society as we know it. Born from the ash, the Council of Nine rose as a new law and order for this dark age. To avenge the corporations’ reckless destruction, the Council issues death warrants for all white collar criminals. Their hunters are called bounty killers, who compete for body count, fame and a fat stack of cash. They’re ending the plague of corporate greed by exterminating the self serving CEO and providing the survivors of the apocalypse with retribution. The star among them is Mary Death (Christian Pitre), who is as sexy as she is lethal. Fans swarm her for autographs, and she soaks up the fame while her equal competitor Drifter (Matthew Marsden) works just as hard but gets half the credit and attention. They find themselves pairing with a grumpy assistant named Jimbo (Abraham Benrubi) and an unlikely helper named Jack (Barak Hardley) to go up against the corporate big shot named Catherine (Kristanna Loken) and hopefully bring down the corrupt system.


In some ways watching BOUNTY KILLER reminded me of the failed Pamela Anderson vehicle BARB WIRE, but with the welcome exception that this movie was actually fun to watch… like ridiculously fun. It was originally conceived as a short film a few years ago by director Henry Saine, and some of the footage from the short still exists in the finished feature. What’s perhaps most amazing about the movie is the slick look of both the visuals and action sequences, effectively capturing the look and feel of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. This is impressive mainly because the budget for BOUNTY KILLER was shockingly modest, probably less than most independent art house films – even the song “The Kill” by Sara Bareilles is an impressive addition to the finished piece. Oh, and the extensive gore effects are masterfully done, again giving the appearance of a production with a much bigger budget. Saine has crafted a gritty action/comedy that never holds back and consistently entertains, and is destined to be a cult classic.


The cast may not be filled with household names, but the actors involved turn in sincere performances, and the end result benefits greatly from it. Christian Pitre is terrific as the film’s lead, sexy and tough, and much more believable than most of Hollywood’s big screen tough girls. We buy into her as Mary Death, and she sells the character in scene after scene, never feeling forced or false in her delivery. Matthew Marsden (RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION) is also cool as the Clint Eastwood-esque tough guy lead, and while turning in a strong screen presence never outshines our female lead, even in the most intense moments. One of the highlights of the piece is Barak Hardley, playing the excited fanboy-ish helper to our heroes, reminiscent of some the most endearing and memorable sidekicks from 1980’s action movies. I was also glad to see Abraham Benrubi used in the film, and his introduction in the story gave me one of the biggest laughs of the piece. The lovely Kristanna Loken (TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES) has fun sinking her teeth into the villain role, and has what may easily be one of the production’s most memorable moments toward the end. Gary Busey shows up briefly as a creepy heavy (and is of course crazy as ever), and the lovely Beverly D’Angelo also appears in a small role – great to see her back on the big screen. Rap star Eve is practically unrecognizable as a gypsy warrior who battles Mary Death, but like most characters in the film looks terrific, and there’s some unexpected moments with her that keep things interesting. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful Kevin McNally, who has some brief but enjoyable scenes as the drop off man for our heroes’ bounties. Everyone in the cast looks great, and appears to be enjoying themselves, which is likely a testament to Saine and his inspired vision behind the camera.

Some will draw comparisons (fairly) to movies like MAD MAX, but while BOUNTY KILLER seems to have nods here and there to other movies we love, it really stands on its own as a great piece of entertainment. The script by Henry Saine, Jason Dodson and Colin Ebeling moves at a brisk pace, and keeps things interesting and fun above all else – there’s no time to get bored, you’ll be enjoying yourself too much. I’ve often wondered why movies based on video games and comic books rarely manage to capture the sensibilities of the source material, but this excels where those flicks fail. Watching BOUNTY KILLER is like reading a great graphic novel or playing a wild video game, and enjoying yourself to a guilty degree. I genuinely hope people make an effort to see it, and spread the word among their friends. Personally, while watching it at DIFF earlier this year, I felt like I was experiencing some top secret bit of greatness that would make others jealous if they knew. Grab your friends, check your brain at the door, and remind yourself what it’s like to really have a blast at the movie theater again.

Here’s a list of AMC Theaters playing BOUNTY KILLER this weekend:

AMC Metreon 16 (San Francisco)
AMC Palm Promenade 24 (San Diego)
AMC Valley View 16 (Dallas)
AMC Universal Cineplex 20 (Orlando)
AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres (Philadelphia area)
AMC Forum 30 (Detroit area)
AMC Sunset Place 24 (Miami)
AMC Streets Of Woodfield 20 (Chicago area)

And here’s their OFFICIAL FACEBOOK.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.