Combustible Celluloid
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With: Steve Austin, Gil Bellows, Gary Daniels, Marie Avgeropoulos, Emilie Ullerup, Michael Eklund, Donnelly Rhodes, Michael Hogan, Eric Roberts, Adrian Holmes, Brent Stait
Written by: Frank Hannah
Directed by: Keoni Waxman
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language throughout
Running Time: 97
Date: 10/11/2010

Hunt to Kill (2010)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Woods Fellas

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Steve Austin's new movie is a good deal simpler and more streamlined than his earlier attempts, incorporating elements from action franchises like Rambo and Die Hard. The setup isn't bad, showing the Austin character's backstory, as well as introducing an interesting band of mismatched criminals, each with a particular skill or personality trait. The "deep-in-the-woods" premise offers endless possibility, and the whip-smart villain Banks (Gil Bellows, from "Ally McBeal") keeps the heroes on their toes.

Jim Rhodes (Steve Austin) is a former border patrol agent who retreated to the woods of Montana after the brutal death of his partner (Eric Roberts) in a meth lab explosion. Meanwhile, a group of criminals pulls off a successful heist, but is betrayed by one of their number; he takes the money and heads for the same woods. The bad guys, led by the sadistic Banks (Gil Bellows), need a guide, and they happen upon Jim's grumpy, rebellious daughter Kim (Marie Avgeropoulos), whom they take as a hostage. Jim agrees to see them through the woods, biding his time and waiting for the right moment to rescue his daughter and turn the tables on the trigger-happy goons.

However, the filmmakers drop the ball, finding the quarry too early and leaving no room for anything but a brain-dead shoot-out. The setups for the fights are a bit ludicrous, with coincidences and implausible events abound. The relationship between Jim and Kim is bizarre, with her choosing the strangest moments to throw tantrums, and the film has a sickening penchant for violence against women. Any goodwill conjured up in the first half is ultimately demolished.

Anchor Bay's DVD and Blu-Ray come with a brief behind-the-scenes look and a commentary track.

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