It’s 10:34 pm
A couple of weeks ago our local Dollar Tree had one of its rare DVD/Blu Ray sales.
I think I got there probably a day after they went on sale as there some strong titles still sitting in the bin when most times people have picked the bin clean.
One movie caught my eye right away and that was “Killing Season” starring John Travolta and Robert DeNiro. I had seen the preview on other DVDs and kept my eye out for it while out and about. So when I saw it at Dollar Tree and as a BluRay,I picked it up.
The preview made “Killing Season” look like an all action macho type of movie but the minute it started,the soft score let you know you were in for a thinking person’s film.
The film opens with the retelling of the Yugoslav War fought between 1991-2001. The Serbians were attempting ethnic cleansing of Bosnia and Croatia among others until NATO stepped in and defeated them.
An American patrol finds a train full of dead citizens and then finds a concentration camp. As they approach the camp,they come under fire by the camp’s defenders,after a short firefight,they surrender to the Americans.
Instead of taking the Serbs as prisoners of war,the patrol marches them to a hillside and executes them. Each American shoots a Serb and we see that Emil Kovac (John Travolta) is the last Serb alive,as he turns to see his executioner,we hear a shot and the picture fades…to the present.
We see Kovac walk into a bar in Serbia to meet a contact who has a file Kovac has been looking for,he pays a lot of money for the file that names the American patrol that killed his comrades. He looks and see the picture of Col. Benjamin Ford (DeNiro) and takes it. When his contact asks where Emil is going,he smiles and says “Hunting”.
Kovac finds Ford,he wants a confession from Ford about his part in the war. But it is the journey that makes this film different,sure,there is plenty of action and both men suffer terrible wounds at the hands of the other. But it what drives Kovac to hunt Ford relentlessly for 18 years and why Ford has completely withdrawn from everyone he loves that makes “Killing Season” worth watching. Who will live and who will die will catch you by surprise and will stay with viewer long afterwards.
I have mixed feelings about this film….the script is solid,the direction by Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil) is firm and the cinematography by Peter Menzies Jr is superb as is the score by Christopher Young.
What stops this film is the violence done to each man by the other. Both suffer tremendous damage that would have ended the film after the first fight yet both Kovac and Ford shrug off being shot through the face by an arrow,being hung up by the calf after yet another arrow shot.
A good story is undermined by cartoon violence and that really hurts “Killing Season”in the end. DeNiro and Travolta are very good here,they worked very hard on their performances and brought Ford and Kovac to life. The ending also was the right call and made sense as well. Both are haunted by war and the line between good and evil sometimes becomes very blurry and the screenplay written by Evan Daugherty does a nice job in bringing that out.
Overall,despite some bumps,the performances of Travolta and DeNiro save “Killing Season” and is highly recommended by both the cheetah and myself.
A thumbs/paws up for this one!
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