If someone would ask me, what film company have made our lives better, i would say Cannon Films is one of the few movie companies that dared to cross limits. Cannon Films made a lot of real classic action films back in the 80´s, and i used to rent their films all the time on VHS. One of the first films i remember seeing is American Ninja, directed by Sam Firstenberg. This was the first film i saw action star Michael Dudikoff as Joe Armstrong, a real American bad ass character. American Ninja mixed traditional action scenes with ninja influences, and is one of the real 80´s action classics you should see. There are sequels to American Ninja, that are worth checking out as well, but the first film is the best. Speaking of Michael Dudikoff, just a year after American Ninja was released, he returned with a different action film that became a cult classic known as Avenging Force ( also directed by Sam Firstenberg ). What made Avenging Force different from the American Ninja franchise, is that this film is actually about a hunting club, an organization known as the Pentagle, who hunt humans as a hunting game, in the swamps of the Lousiana bayou. This is actually one of the few films that have brought up the human hunting idea, before the 1994 film Surviving The Game took it to another level. One of the biggest reasons why you should see Avenging Force, is to see Michael Dudikoff doing a different kind of action film than we are used to see. There is a deeper story here, with another approach than an ordinary hunting story. Speaking of hunting humans, some of you might have read in newspapers last year about an American film called The Hunt was delayed because of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings. This was not very popular by some people, such as Rick Wiles, who blamed the jews for cancelling the premiere of The Hunt ( i have no idea where he gets this information from, but i am pretty sure it´s not true ). Either way, The Hunt did get a theatre release and was even released earlier this year on VOD. Is this a better film than we all expected, or is The Hunt a film that should have been cancelled forever ?
Eleven captives wake up gagged in a forest for a hunt ( a hunting humans game arranged by wealthy people ). A group of people seems to be chosen for this hunt, as they discover a cache of weapons, as they arm themselves. They soon find out that they need to find a way to survive in this forest, or they will be killed. One of the few survivors named Crystal Creasey ( Betty Gilpin ), find her way to a gas station, where she meet the gas station owners Miranda " Ma " ( Amy Madigan and Julius " Pop " ( Reed Birney ). Crystal have no idea why she ended up here, and have no idea of what´s going on. But she senses that something is wrong, and kill the older couple, as she understand that they are not as kind as they might seem. She soon realise that she is being hunted, as she tries to survive and find out who is behind this hunting game.
Since my expectations of this film were not very high, i have to say that The Hunt is more fun than i expected. This is a crazy mix of action, comedy and horror, all thrown together in a clever way. Imagine if you mixed the 1993 classic Van Damme film Hard Target with the 1994 film Surviving The Game, and you pretty much have the concept of The Hunt, but with some differences of course. And one of the biggest surprises for me, is that you really don´t know who is going to die, since there are some very unexpected deaths ( especially in the beginning of this film ) The basic story also reminded me of other films as well, such as the 2007 horror film Hostel, directed by Eli Roth. But i also feel some influences here from the horror comedy Ready Or Not. And when you use human hunting in a horror film, it is important to bring in some comedy elements . And this is actually something that works well in this film. For me personally, i feel that the biggest highlight of The Hunt ( outisde all the wonderful violence ) is the character Crystal Creasy, played by actress Betty Gilpin ( who some of you might remember from the TV series Nurse Jackie ) She is like a combination of Ripley in Alien, and one of the craziest characters from Desperate Housewives. She is absolutely bad ass in this role, and Betty clearly knew how she wanted to give this woman a portrait that matches so well with the storyline. Another actor i have to mention, is Ethan Suplee ( who is brilliant in the TV comedy series My Name Is Earl ). His character Gary in The Hunt, is the perfect example of how you want a true American to be, and not afraid to speak out how he thinks. There are some other great performances as well, but let´s talk about what works more with this film. The violence is actually much more effective than i expected. All the brutality is here for a good reason, that lifts up the subject of gun rights. Director Craig Zobel ( who directed the interesting independent film Compliance ) have managed to make a film that both brings up political issues, and humanitarian issues with a clever twist. The Hunt may not be appreciated by the extreme feminists of Sweden, but if you do love guns and violence, and can accept a good sense of humour, then this is the film for you.