A troubled assassin has to decide whether or not he can complete his mission which requires killing a young innocent girl in this action-packed thriller.
There’s no shortage of assassin films these days, and it seems like they all try to replicate the highly successful Jason Bourne franchise. This makes sense because audiences around the world love those films. They’re violent, mysterious, and full of incredible action sequences. The close-up hand-to-hand combat of the Bourne movies revolutionized how such films would be shot in the future. Much like the Matrix with its unique camera rotations and bullet-time, the Bourne films changed the game with its up-close, and confusing/gritty quick cuts. Back in the day, fight scenes were slow, methodical, and consisted of wide to medium-range camera angles. They also didn’t have very many cuts. The modernized method is the exact opposite. Following suit, The Hunter’s Prayer is a bit like the Bourne films with its mystery and gritty close-up fight scenes. There’s also the question of why he’s hesitating on the final target.
The Hunter’s Prayer is about an assassin named Lucas (Sam Worthington), whose been tasked with eliminating a wealthy family. The father and mother were easy targets in their secluded posh home, but the daughter is a whole other story. Turns out she’s all the way in Switzerland at a private school. While the girls are supposed to remain on campus, Ella (Odeya Rush) finds a way to sneak out one night. Little does she know there’s an assassin waiting for her. Lucas tracks her down at a club in the city, but he’s hesitant to complete the job. This must have been expected by whomever hired Lucas, because there are other assassins coming to do the same thing! In a last second decision, Lucas takes out the approaching assassin and grabs the girl. All we know is that there must be a pretty penny on her head, because there are several more coming to collect the bounty. Worst yet, Lucas is conflicted on what to do next. Should he complete the mission, or will his conscience get the best of him? It’s seems as if there’s more going on than what we see initially as well.
Lucas is far from perfect. His agile skills and cunning decision-making come off as a Jason Bourne-like trained killer, yet he has some demons we learn about along the way. For starters, he’s always grabbing a nearby needle to shoot-up after an adrenaline-pumping scene. I guess it’s his way of coming down, but it’s a massive problem. He doesn’t function well afterwards. Viewers also learn that he has some sort of relation to a mother and daughter. We can only presume that its own daughter, which would make since as to why he’s questioning killing Ella.
Think Lucas will succumb to his killer ways and finish the job he started? What about all those other assassins looking to do the same thing? How long before Ella’s fate is sealed? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Enough about that…let’s check out what’s included with this release.
The menu design consists of several looping clips from the film. The menu options are listed along the bottom, and include: Play, Scene Selection, Set Up, and Special Features. The ‘Scene Selection’ option displays up to three scenes at a time. Each one is numbered and includes a snapshot from the scene. The ‘Set Up’ option lets viewers choose the audio and subtitle tracks for the film. The Audio options include: English 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio, and that’s it folks! The subtitles come in English and Spanish. I guess they knew this film would have a limited audience.
Now let’s take a look at the special features included with this Blu-ray release.
– The Cost of Killing: Making The Hunter’s Prayer (11:08 HD): Casting can easily make or break a film. If you don’t have the right actors, the whole story can fall apart. For the Director and Producer, no other actress could play the part of Ella better than Odeya Rush. Apparently, she sent them a terrible-quality audition from her hotel room, but even that was completely captivating to them. They wanted her and nobody else. The same can be said for Sam Worthington. He’s capable of saying so much with his expressions and minimal words. That’s an attribute for a stellar actor, as well as, the perfect combination for a dark role such as Lucas. As the viewer we are kept on edge because we don’t know what’s going on inside Lucas’ twisted mind. Sam did a great job portraying this character.
– The World of the Hunter (4:26 HD): This is a great behind-the-scenes feature that shows viewers the various locations seen in the film. These magnificent places were natural, and not on soundstages which gave it a much more realistic and ominous feel. If you like to see the real locations, make sure to check out this feature!
– Creating the Driving Force (3:37 HD): This is another great behind-the-scenes clip. In this one, viewers get to see how and where they shot the car chase scenes. It’s action-packed and looks great even from the outside angle. The stunts are also real, folks. In a world filled with CGI, seeing practical effects is a plus in my book. I’d take practical effects over CGI any day.
Now let’s take a look at the technical side of this Blu-ray release.
The 1080p HD image comes with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1, meaning there are black bars along the top and bottom of your HDTV. No need to worry though, as the film consists of pristine shots captured by a couple of top-notch digital cameras. There are several dimly lit scenes in this film, and even these contain a lot of clarity. Flesh tones appear accurate throughout, and the close-ups reveal a ton of detail in the actor’s faces and clothing. This wasn’t just due to the cameras though. The lighting, locations, and framing played a major part in the success of these visuals. Bravo to the production team.
The 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio track is surprisingly thorough. Sound effects, ambient noises, and background audio make sure to venture into the rear channels from time to time. This is especially effective during action sequences and chase scenes. There’s a lot of gun-play in this film, so viewers will be ducking down when they hear a bullet ricocheting behind them. Most of the dialog takes place front and center as you’d expect, and it’s never overpowered by the sound effects or audio track. It’s a solid transfer all around.
Overall, The Hunter’s Prayer is a pretty cool film. It attempts to replicate the Bourne-like style, involving assassins and mystery; while including some really amazing action sequences. At times the plot feels a bit forced though, and certain events are resolved quicker than they should. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a new assassin thriller that’s filled with cool car chases and gun-play, look no further. The Hunter’s Prayer may be the perfect action film for your Friday night. Check it out on Blu-ray today!