Bounty Killer (2012)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/30/14
Cast: Matthew Marsden, Christian Pitre, Barak Hardley, cameos by Kristanna Loken, Gary Busey

In a post-apocalyptic future, corporate white collar criminals are hunted down by a group of highly skilled bounty killers. Two of the best are Drifter (charming Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (over-the-top Christian Pitre), who are celebrities in their own right and have legions of adoring fans. Mary eats up the attention and promotes her public image with a sexy mod mini-dress, go-go boots, enormous hair, and absolutely HIDEOUS makeup. Things are going fine until someone puts a bounty on Drifter, which a conflicted Mary is all too eager to collect. Drifter races to the Council Of Nine with Mary in hot pursuit to sort things out, but nothing can prepare them for what they find at the end of their journey across the wasteland.

Yes, it's awful, but it also has a certain amount of charm. As a huge fan of female action cinema and post-apocalyptic anarchy, this film should have hit my sweet spots, but the execution and tone are insulting. It wants to be a female version of "The Road Warrior" (1981), which would have been AWESOME, but it fails miserably. The story is overly campy, the characters are needlessly goofy, the humor is weak and misplaced, and the visual effects are embarrassingly bad. Matthew Marsden and Christian Pitre are the only ones who take the film seriously, but Ms. Pitre's presentation is so forcefully sexualized and in-your-face, that it's hard to take her seriously. While gratuitous sexuality, inappropriately racy outfits, and porn star glamour are a staple of exploitation cinema and not necessarily a bad thing, the real boner killer is Ms. Pitre's horrifying makeup. She has an unusual face that looks like a cross between Jillian Michaels and Lance Henriksen, but her extreme eye makeup is hideous and her ridiculous painted-on eyebrows are the stuff of nightmares. It's really unfortunate, because she's a good physical actress and handles her action scenes with confidence, conviction, intensity, and flair. She's actually a pretty good dramatic actress as well, and manages to hit the proper emotional notes while strutting around with the grace and poise of a stripper.

Unfortunately, the other characters are only in it for laughs, and the most irritating character is Jack (dorky Barak Hardley), who insists on following Drifter around as a gun caddy. Kristanna Loken inexplicably gets second billing, even though she's in exactly three scenes and doesn't show up until the end. And it's anyone's guess as to why Gary Busey is in the film. I don't think he knows, either. While it explores some interesting themes and aims to be a non-stop action gore fest, it ends up being disappointing on nearly all accounts. Christian Pitre's action scenes are marginally entertaining, but they're overshadowed by the film's overbearing adolescent attitude.

Memorable Quote: "Ah, tastes like boobies!" (in response to chugging a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer)