11th Sep2017

‘The Hunter’s Prayer’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sam Worthington, Odeya Rush, Allen Leech, Tina Maskell, Eben Young, Stephanie Dooley, Eudald Font, Amy Landecker, Martin Compston | Written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris | Directed by Jonathan Mostow

hunters-prayer-dvd

Lucas, (Sam Worthington) is a solitary assassin who is hired to kill a young woman, Ella (Odeya Rush). When he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger the plan falls apart, setting in motion a twisted game of cat and mouse with both now marked for death. Forced into an uneasy alliance, the pair is relentlessly pursued across Europe, their only hope for survival lying in the exposure of those responsible for the brutal murder of Ella’s family…

Based on Kevin Wignall’s novel For the Dogs, The Hunter’s Prayer is a EuropaCorp-wannabe that sorely needed the guidance of Luc Besson and his team to pull this out of the by-the-numbers Bourne-inspired, generic action thriller doldrums within which it resides. Shot in Hungary and Harrogate, England (yes really), The Hunter’s Prayer was seemingly aiming for a Leon vibe, with Worthington’s assassin relying upon his “victim” to help him as much as he’s trying to help her.

So heavy-handed is the Leon ‘inspiration’ that The Hunter’s Prayer features a random scene in which Lucas teaches Ella how to load, cock, and shoot a gun. For no good reason. Well, other than to drive a couple of plot points later on in the film – and also provided a further obstacle for Lucas to overcome. For without said obstacles there be little tension on which to hang the films already flimsy story.

Handled just as badly, there’s some real overwrought drama shoveled into the films plot too, seemingly in an attempt to add some depth to Lucas – his wife left him when she was pregnant, he’s never seen his daughter (so THAT’S why he’s helping Ella!?! Yawn…) and he’s a drug addict, as it helps him block out the pain of his job, or as Lucas puts it “When you take a life, it takes yours.” Altogether now… awwwwww.

The Hunter’s Prayer is like watching a film put together by someone was pulling cliches and stereotypes from an idiots guide to action-thrillers! There’s not a single original idea in this film – they can’t even get the English villain trope right either. Our bad guy here, Addison, is a terrible, weak-willed, smarmy example of the “evil businessman who wants all the monies” trope that has been a standard in Hollywood action movies for years!

Written and directed by the same team behind Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mostow, Brancato and Ferris), there’s a good reason The Hunter’s Prayer sat on the shelf for a couple of years before seeing the light of day. And with the films most interesting story beat – the relationship between Addison and his son – is left completely unexplored; The Hunter’s Prayer is ultimately as po-faced as Worthington’s performance.

A barebones release from Signature, The Hunter’s Prayer is available on DVD and Digital Download now.

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