Director: Jonathan Mostow
Cast: Sam Worthington, Odeya Rush, Allen Leech, Verónica Echegui
Runtime: 1 hr 31 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Drug References and Violence)
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Opening Day: 15 June 2017
Synopsis: This high octane thriller focuses on Lucas, (Sam Worthington), a solitary assassin, 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. Now both are marked for death and forced to form an uneasy alliance. Relentlessly pursued across Europe, their only hope for survival is to expose those responsible for brutally murdering her family and bring them to justice.
Before we see Sam Worthington hop on a banshee again, he is Stephen Lucas in The Hunter’s Prayer. In our humble opinion, one of the most completely bland, completely boring and completely hackneyed movies of the year. Bear in mind we still have six more months before the end of 2017.
Stephen Lucas is an assassin for hire. He has a wife and a daughter whom he is estranged from. He might be an ex-army veteran but the fleeting flashback didn’t give us further details. Add to the fact that he is also a junkie who needs a shot every few hours. When his next job involves killing a teenager named Ella (Odeya Rush from Goosebumps), he ends up protecting her which causes him to incur the wrath of his boss, Addison (Downtown Abbey’s Allen Leech).
The screenplay is so formulaic even though it tries hard at every corner to put you on the edge. The movie takes us across Europe with numerous killers supposedly on the loose to hunt down Lucas and Ella, because accordingly the bounty on the latter’s head is huge. This alone gives the movie some excuses to churn out a few less than stellar shootouts and car chases. Honestly, you should have seen far better executed stunts on the small screen.
The biggest problem with the story lies in the one-dimensional villain. Ella’s dad has been killed for embezzling Addison’s money and the money is now residing in her savings account in Switzerland. Addison looks like the kind of guy who made his riches from narcotics and other shady deals. He is tough with his son and calls his ex-wife a whore. Basically stuff that the filmmakers wants us to believe that Addison is BAD, an asshole; however he ends up being more of a ghost than a human. And shortly after, we are led to believe that a corrupted FBI agent is also helping Addison, which pathetically adds no icing on the already plain cake.
Sam Worthington of course is no Leon the Professional. He plays Stephen Lucas in the same manner as Jake Sully, except Lucas looks bushier. For a junkie, I must admit he is pretty well built and agile as well. With a lousy script, The Hunter’s Prayer needs a charismatic leading man to pull it off, but Worthington neither has the talents of Jean Reno nor Keanu Reeves to play a wretched, suffering character unfortunately. Hailee Steinfeld on the other hand is thanking her lucky star for giving up on the role that eventually went to Odeya Rush, since it’s better for her to spend her time on her singing career.
You will be shocked to know that The Hunter’s Prayer is helmed by director Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3, U571). Although seven years have passed since his last big-screen feature, it’s hard to imagine that this clumsily, generic made action thriller actually has his name stamped on it. Seriously, it’s a flick that lacks energy and emotion, moviegoers might prefer to wait for the Avatar sequels instead if you are a fan of Worthington. At least this time he has James Cameron to guide him.
(An alternative name for The Hunter’s Prayer will be Plain Vanilla)
Review by Linus Tee