The Hunter’s Prayer is a tale as old as time; A hitman decides he’s done killing in the middle of a job and ends up on the run with his mark, helping her take down his boss who just happened to have killed her family. We’ve all been there, right? There have been many variations on this theme throughout the years, or at least movies using this trope, some better than others mind you. And while The Hunter’s Prayer doesn’t break much in the way of new ground, it is an effective, and sometimes humorous thriller.
Hired killer Stephen Lucas (Sam Worthington) is tasked with killing Ella (Odeya Rush), a teenage girl, but instead goes on the run vowing to help her get revenge on the man responsible for the murder of her parents.
As I mentioned, The Hunter’s Prayer doesn’t do much to set itself apart from other films of this style, but it is a highly entertaining potboiler with some exciting set pieces and more than capable directing from Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3, The Surrogates). The big selling point for me was the believable budding relationship between the charismatic killer and angst-ridden teenager; the pair have an almost instant chemistry that never feels forced, and is largely where the film’s humor and heart dwell. The other actors are good in their roles as well, but this is Worthington (Avatar, Terminator: Salvation) and Rush‘s (The Giver, Goosebumps) show all the way. The two deliver some truly trite dialog in such a way that it doesn’t detract from the film, a not so easy task. Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) plays the mob boss with utter glee and abandon, even with some painfully Bond villain-esqe monologues.
The film, based on Kevin Wignall’s novel For the Dogs, has plenty of well-executed larger than life action scenes, many of them injected with subtle humor by screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris. Mostow gives the film a stylish sheen with a brilliant color palette that deftly leads your eyes across the screen. The character moments are where he excels, however, injecting some much-needed breaks between gunfights and running, as well as quiet moments for exposition. Sure the film is full of overused genre clichés, but it mostly moves past them with the momentum of a high-speed chase.
While not a perfect movie, The Hunter’s Prayer fills its brisk 90 minutes with enough car chases, gun battles, and fist fights to appease any action movie fan, without becoming bogged down with a heady plot. It’s popcorn genre fair, and it delivers an exciting yet well-worn time.
The Hunter’s Prayer is out on Blu-Ray today.