The Hunter’s Prayer: Soulless, Flat and Unoriginal
Allen LeechOdeya Rush...
Action & Adventure
In 1 Cinema
There’s nothing remotely interesting or stimulating in the latest rogue-assassin-turned-good wannabe thriller, The Hunter’s Prayer. Drawing its inspirations from Kevin Wignall’s 2004 novel, For the Dogs, the story is as derivative as they come; the plot follows a suddenly conscious-stricken assassin getting himself into trouble when he refrains from killing a sixteen-year-old target, but lacks any fresh new ideas that can shake up a story we’ve all seen before.
Directed by Terminator 3’s Jonathan Mostow, the story is centered on Sam Worthington’s Lucas; an ex-soldier-turned-assassin with drug problems, who gets hired by a British crime mogul, Richard Addison (Leech) to punish his American associate, Martin Hetto (Young), who has apparently stolen millions from the ruthless tycoon. Sent to Switzerland to kill Martin’s daughter, Ella (Rush), who is there attending boarding school, Lucas soon runs into trouble when his guilty-conscious kicks in – mainly involving the abandonment of his own daughter that he has never met – leaving him unable to go through with the job.
Naturally, Addison is not too happy with the decision and soon sends Metzger (Compston), a slightly more reliable hitman, to go and finish the job, which he starts by killing off Martin and his wife in their California home. Meanwhile, Lucas has taken Ella under his wing, promising her protection if she cooperates, as they go on the run from Addison’s numerous henchmen, as well as corrupt Interpol Agent, Banks (Landecker), who has also been hired by Addison.
Movies like Leon: The Professional and even Jason Bourne echo throughout the film’s exhausting proceedings, but whereas those films had a certain edge in their approach, not to mention solid action set pieces and, most important of all, expressive performances, The Hunter’s Prayer serves to be a shoddily-executed version in comparison. In fact, the film is embarrassingly void of any depth and emotion, with the script giving little for audiences to engage with.
The on-screen chemistry between Lucas and Ella is shaky at best, with both leads struggling to offer believable and grounded performances, while Leech’s turn as the villainous business tycoon is uninspired and a little cartoonish.
That said, the action is relatively solid, with Mostow earning a little bit of credit with the numerous fight and chase sequences; the execution is far from groundbreaking, but at least it manages to liven up the picture. However, it’s not enough to elevate the entire piece, which, when taken a whole, just doesn’t land.