THE LEGACY OF A WHITETAIL DEER HUNTER (NETFLIX) (2018)
SYNOPSIS: Buck Ferguson (Josh Brolin), famous for hunting whitetail deer, plans a special episode of his hunting show around a bonding weekend with his estranged son, Jaden (Montana Jordan). With trusted - but hapless - cameraman and friend Don (Danny McBride) in tow, Buck sets out for what soon becomes an unexpectedly epic adventure of father-son reconnection in the great outdoors.
The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter stars man-of-the-year, Josh Brolin (who of course just graced two blockbusters, Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 on the big screen) and Danny McBride who also co-wrote this with director Jody Hill (Eastbound & Down, Observe and Report).
Alpha-male Buck Ferguson (Brolin) who has been separated from his wife for two years, is fast losing the affection of his 11-year-old son, Jaden (Montana Jordan from Young Sheldon) to his wife’s boyfriend, Greg who has no problem bestowing anything to the boy including an automatic pistol.
Together with his trusty cameraman, Don (McBride), TV personality and whitetail hunter Buck is reconnecting with Jaden on a weekend hunting trip in the rural. Jaden however has zero interest in the rituals of hunting, preferring to talk on the phone with his girlfriend, listening to music, playing his guitar and crashing an ATV.
Even with a brief 83 minutes runtime, The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter struggles to make an impact. The father-and-son relationship in particular comes off as predictable and weak despite Brolin working his ass off in the role of an old-fashioned, no-nonsense, desperately seeking his son’s admiration father. Buck in other words is a man lost in the concrete jungle but blessed with a Winchester and nature, he is a gifted hunter.
McBride plays the suffering partner of Buck who long to be recognized for his efforts but his character is relegated to a mere sidekick who spout the occasional jerk-off joke and a chuckling revelation of his girlfriend.
The indie comedy which supposedly been sitting on the shelf until Netflix came to its rescue is also a weak satire on the American gun and hunting culture even though there is potentially lots of material to milk from. The funniest gag in the end turned out to be just the promotional trailers Buck has shot for his hunting videos in glorious VHS quality.
The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter could have been a much better polished comedy on the small screen but as it turned out, it’s not much of a difference in terms of mileage from the Sandler/Happy Madison productions which you constantly get from Netflix. Stream this only if you can’t enough of Brolin’s brilliant acting.
Review by Linus Tee