Movie Review: ‘The Hunter’s Prayer’ Is A First Class Heart Pounding Roller Coaster Ride

Review by Mark Merrell

Lucas (Sam Worthington, Avatar, Clash Of The Titans, Terminator Salvation) is a hitman, and a junky, ruled and directed under leverage from a threat on his wife and child’s life.

Sent on a hit job, Lucas sneaks up in the darkness on a home. A barking dog is annoying it’s owners, Martin Hatto (Eben Young, Dr Strange, The Ghost Rider), his wife, Pamela Hatto (Stephanie Dooley, Dangerous Game, Hyperdrive, Casualty) and their maid, Rosa (Tina Maskell, Skyfall, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Shaun of the Dead, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2). Rosa takes the dog outside. Just steps from the door, Lucas walks up quickly and shoots, killing her. He moves inside and kills both Martin and Pamela. He picks up Martin’s cellphone, dumps gasoline on the floor, and starts igniting the fluid. As he does, the camera moves to a family portrait that includes the daughter of the Hatto’s, Ella (Odeya Rush, Goosebumps, The Giver, The Odd Life).

Next, we watch as Ella is talking with friends at the girls college she is attending, trying to sneak a smoke outside. Lucas is soon on Ella’s trail, tailing her. Latter that evening Ella heads out to meet up with her boyfriend at a club. Lucas follows them in. Ella spots him, thinking he’s been sent by her dad to spy on her. A stranger soon walks in, and takes out a weapon. Lucas fires first, and soon several gunmen are firing at Lucas. He grabs Ella, and makes a run for it. As Lucas finds a car to drive away in, Ella and Lucas are suddenly joined by her boyfriend. The group speeds off, and a rolling gun battle/car chase ensues.

Eventually running into the countryside, forcing the pursuers off the road, Lucas finishes him off with a shot. Lucas decides to head out with the car. As he reaches it, he gets a text, showing a picture of his wife and child, reminding him that he needs to kill Ella, or his loved ones will be killed. He tells Ella to get in the car, but her boyfriend isn’t wanting to be around Lucas, witnessing what he is capable of, so Ella and Lucas take off in the car disappearing into the darkness.

Latter, Lucas steals a car, and the pair head down the road, during which he starts to have flashbacks, as images of his stint in the armed forces flash across in his mind. Ella, stuffed in the trunk, keeps talking to Lucas. After a poignant story from Lucas, they final make it to a house, where Lucas breaks in. Ella goes in the bathroom, spotting a telephone. She calls and gets who she thinks is help. They tell her Lucas wants to kill her. Freaked out, she comes out and asks Lucas if this is the case.

Lucas takes out his gun, draws down on Ella pointing his gun at her head, but cannot pull the trigger. She runs past him, and to a nearby town. Lucas follows her, and convinces Ella he will not and cannot kill her. She decides reluctantly to believe Lucas. Suddenly, they are both attacked. Lucas manages to take out the other hit guys. Quickly, Ella and Lucas realize they are both targets together, and thus starts their partnership, and a chase across Europe.

We also discover who ordered the hit on Ella and her family, and why, as the film moves to the home/castle of Richard Addison (Allen Leech, Grand Piano, Downton Abbey, The Imitation Game) as he is briefed by his assistant, Banks (Amy Landecker, Dr Strange, A Serious Man, Transparent, Project Almanac).

Adapted from Kevin Wignall’s 2004 novel, For The Dogs, John Brancato (Terminator 3, The Game, The Net) and Michael Ferris (The Game, Terminator 3, The Net, Terminator Salvation), bring to life a story familiar to movie fans. Director Johnathan Mostow (U-571, Terminator 3, Breakdown, Surrogates) crafts the tale in his own fashion, using the full width and hight of the screen with little downtime between heart pounding action scenes, seemingly cascading one after another.

The entire cast is absolutely flawless. Everyone is believable portraying their characters. You love to hate the bad guys, and cheer on Lucas and Ella. As stated, the material is somewhat unoriginal, but the film, with its characters and edge of your seat action make up the difference resulting in this exciting movie.

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