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If you’re going to go over-the-top in a B-grade action movie, it probably isn’t going to hurt if you cast a bigger-than-life muscle-bound action star to throw himself all over the screen. And for a long time now, that role has been filled by beefed-up wrestlers attempting to make the transition from professional TV fighter to Hollywood actor, admittedly for most, not a big leap.
What the best of these movies have, no matter the forgettable stories and low-budget effects, is at least a beast of a personality, men with high-wattage charms and plenty of flip-kicking style. Boone: The Bounty Hunter has one such star and while many films in the genre make the mistake of taking themselves too seriously, Boone does not, mixing the action with yards and yards of parody, satire, and heaps of well, Boone-isms.
Boone is played by John Hennigan, a bounty hunter turned reality star, though as his fame grew, his show deteriorated, falling into staged captures of famous people, including Kevin Sorbo (playing himself). When the ratings plummet, producers pull the plug and so Boone thinks the only way to save his career is to go back to his roots and be legit again, on camera, and after getting a tip from a pal in the DEA (Corbin Bernsen), he think he can simply waltz across the border to Mexico and bring in a drug lord’s son (Jonathan Lipnicki). Problem is, the bad guys here are for real, and Boone soon finds himself well over head. As Boone would say, even when his cup is full, it’s only half full. You just got Booned.
Directed by Robert Kirbyson, Boone: The Bounty Hunter is pretty much a passion project for Hennigan, who spent five years putting the picture together, creating the idea of a parkour performing bounty hunting reality star, writing the script and producing with his own money when no studio would touch it. Over that time, he enlisted an impressive list of walk-ons and supporting players to show up throughout, including Richard Tyson, Lorenzo Lamas, Lesley Fera, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, and Jane Park Smith, though make no mistake, this is all Hennigan all the time, delivering a steady stream of one-liners while committing his body to the stunt work like he’s Jackie Chan. For a guy his size, he’s pretty nimble and does some convincing work, even if the blooper reel at the end reveals not every trick went as planned.
Celebrating B-movie madness, Boone plays it with tongue firmly in cheek, even as it gets more aggressive in the second act, ramping up the stakes and action with a bit more raw violence, though to be sure, this is mostly light weight, cartoony beat ’em up stuff, ensuring his younger fans will have plenty to cheer for as he grins and flexes his way through the steady supply of fisticuffs. No one watching is thinking their hero is ever in real trouble, and with pals Denny (Osric Chau), Kat (Spencer Grammer), and Jackson (Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson) watching his back, he’s got little to worry about. Nor do we.
Boone: The Bounty Hunter is a bit of a throwback, an homage in some ways to the direct-to-video hits of the late 90s, restricted by its budget but fiercely devoted to pumping every single frame it can with intensity. Hennigan is great fun to watch, clearly all in and knowing exactly what he’s making. For that, and its charming silliness, this is a good time and well worth the 86 minutes of time you’ll give it.
Movie description: Boone: The Bounty Hunter is a 2017 action/comedy about a fame-hungry realty show star who tries to take down a drug lord but get ins way over his head.
Director(s): Robert Kirbyson
Actor(s): John Hennigan, Osric Chau, Spencer Grammer