VOD Releases: The Hunter's Prayer (2017) - Reviewed

From the mind of director Jonathan Mostow comes the new assassination thriller, The Hunter's Prayer. Mostow is the man that brought us such films as Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, U-571, and the fantastic Kurt Russell movie, Breakdown. What happened?

Unfortunately for us, this latest film has none of the heart of his previous works. The Hunter's Prayer feels like The Accountant lite with a story about the seedy underbelly of paid killers and revenge. Mixing in needless themes about heroin addiction and dead on arrival performances from most of the stars, it's understood why Mostow's newest feature is going straight to the on demand market before getting a limited theatrical run. 

Using the talented Sam Worthington to very little effect, The Hunter's Prayer uses so many rudimentary plot elements that it's almost insulting at times. Everything that's done here has been dragging down this sub-genre for years. This is a recycled story that hits the ground running but begins faltering at the fifteen minute marker. Borrowing story devices from nearly every 'on the run' 'kidnapping' movie that's ever been made, the only thing worth watching here is Worthington's attempt to get himself out of the career gutter he's been in the past few years. It's been half a decade since his last two lead performances. Not since 2012's Man on a Ledge and Wrath of the Titans was he given the chance to carry an entire project. Sadly for him, he's not bankable. The Hunter's Prayer fails his chance at revitalization. At least he has three upcoming Avatar sequels coming up. 

Look. I'm making my mad face. 

This is being marketed as a 'high octane' action flick. It simply isn't. It's the exact opposite. Villains fill the mold of everything we've seen before. And the sob story of the poor little rich girl being protected by an emotionally damaged hitman is so typical, it's like Mostow forgot this has been done twelve times over. The Hunter's Prayer is a European production that started production in 2014 and is finally getting a release at mid-2017 mark. There's many reasons this sat on the shelf for a couple years. It's a problematic movie that has no heart or soul. It just repeats standard tropes in the hope that someone will like it. 

The most worthwhile thing here is the beautiful Odeya Rush giving her all to pull some decently acted scenes out of a worthless project. If anything, watch it for her portrayal of innocence lost against the backdrop of gunshots and parental death.