Bounty Killer review

Banana Rating: 3 out of 5

I love a good post-apocalypse. Obvi­ously, there are draw­backs. Law­less waste­lands full of rap­ing and pil­la­ging; radi­ation scorched skies; no anti­bi­ot­ics to treat pre­vi­ously cur­able infec­tions; a lack of good, clean water, and decim­ated sup­plies of anti­per­spir­ant lead­ing to out­breaks of B.O.; and poor san­it­a­tion mean­ing every­one has to poo in a hole in the desert.

But there are plus points too. Fuel never seems to run out, and hair groom­ing products and make up remain in plen­ti­ful sup­ply. When you’re gun­ning across the shattered remains of Earth on a gas guzz­ling motor­bike, the last thing you want is your care­fully spiked hair get­ting messed up by the wind. And the dust and muck blast­ing the skull mask you’ve spent three hours care­fully paint­ing onto your face will always need a touch up.

Yep, when the world has ended, people don’t aban­don their sense of style, embra­cing post-apocalyptic chic: ripped leather, gleam­ing knuckle dust­ers, thigh high boots, and long west­ern duster coats splattered with just the right amount of dirt. Your aver­age waste­land drifter knows that it’s not enough to sur­vive. You have to look fuck­ing cool whilst doing it.

The bounty killers and other miscre­ants in Bounty Killer are really no excep­tion. Except for one dif­fer­ence. In Bounty Killer’s world there exists another type of person.

You see, this par­tic­u­lar apo­ca­lypse has been brought about by cor­por­ate armies fight­ing it out for real. Ima­gine Coca-Cola get­ting annoyed with Pepsi. Instead of cre­at­ing an advert where they say Coca-Cola tastes like honied milk teased from the plump breast of an ancient Greek god­dess, and that Pepsi tastes like horse piss, they just send a squad­ron of planes across to Pepsi HQ and nuke the fuck out of it. Then ima­gine all the other cor­por­a­tions doing exactly the same thing to each other.

What’s left is a two tier post-apocalypse, with the waste­land drift­ers at the bot­tom, and the smart guys wear­ing suits sat at the top, on a big pile of money. Mmmmmm, wait a minute? Is this film an allegory for our cur­rent ever-widening gap between rich and poor? Well, I never! It is! Admit­tedly, it’s an allegory that’s as subtle as using a sledge­ham­mer to crack a nut. But B-movies don’t do sub­tlety. Some­times, that’s a good thing. Leave it to wor­thier movies to get the heart of an issue. Leave it to a B-movie to solve the prob­lem by just blow­ing someone’s head off with a gun.

In other words, enter the bounty killers. The film fol­lows two of them. Ex-soap star Mat­thew Marsden as “Drifter”, and Chris­tian Pitre as “Mary Death”. Pitre is one of those women who looks like an impossibly beau­ti­ful fem­bot pro­duced in a fact­ory that makes impossibly beau­ti­ful fem­bots to the highest spe­cific­a­tion. Try and spot a hair that might be out of place, or a tooth that doesn’t shine with the power of twenty suns. Then come back at the end of the movie, defeated. Even when she’s drenched in blood, and oil, and blackened with soot from a burn­ing car, the hair and the teeth still look great.

I guess what I’m say­ing is, in a round­about way… she’s hot!

Her and Drifter have risen to a kind of star­dom in the waste­land, execut­ing cor­por­ate fat cats for cash, fame, and mer­chand­ise tie-ins. They’re employed by the Coun­cil of Nine, a sort of new gov­ern­ment try­ing to restore some sort of bal­ance. Without warn­ing, a bounty is put on Drifter’s head. But that’s impossible. He’s not a cor­por­ate scam artist. Or is he? From there, the film is a trip across coun­try to the offices of the Coun­cil of Nine, where Drifter hopes to con­front them. Mary Death is along for the ride as well, often prov­ing a hindrance rather than a help, due to her psychotic tendencies.

I liked Bounty Killer. It’s packed with cameos from the likes of Gary Busey, Bever­ley D’Angelo, and Kevin McNally. The lat­ter is my per­sonal favour­ite, mak­ing a very mem­or­able appear­ance as the guy who col­lects the bod­ies and pays out the cash to the bounty killers. For a B-movie, it looks great most of the time, except for some crappy use of CGI. For­giv­able though, when it does other carnage so well. Gun fights are fast, bloody, and good to look at. And one scene where Mary Death wields a length of chain with deadly effi­ciency made me wince. But some of the quieter stuff is nicely framed too, like when Mary Death shakes her pony tail loose and the cam­era cuts to a shadow of her hair tum­bling over her shoulders, against the bright yel­low door of her car.

Like that moment, there’s a lot of other moments that made me think that the dir­ector, Henry Saine, might be one to watch. This is only his second movie, and whilst it’s prob­ably too deriv­at­ive to war­rant a higher rat­ing than three out of five, there’s a cer­tain some­thing there, that hints at bet­ter stuff to come.