Two veterans of the Bosnian War, one American, one Serbian, clash in the Appalachian Mountain wilderness. Ford is a former American soldier who fought on the front lines in Bosnia. He has retreated to a remote cabin in the woods, trying to escape painful memories of war. Kovac, a former Serbian soldier, seeks Ford out, hoping to settle an old score. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game in which Ford and Kovac fight their own personal war.
Genre : Action/Drama
Country : USA/Belgium
Robert De Niro : Benjamin Ford
John Travolta : Emil Kovac
Milo Ventimiglia : Chris Ford
Mark Steven Johnson
“Hunting. I am going hunting”
“Killing Season” is like going to watch a charity match between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. Two well-known stars who have a lot of achievements on their palmares and normally guarantee an exciting confrontation. Only you notice after some time that it‘s no longer the same as in their heydays. There’s no punch in them anymore and they do their best but it’s with a certain degree of unwillingness. It starts to look like a relay event and not a tough competitive match. The advantage tilts from one party to the other just to keep the tension high and eventually end the game in a draw to make it sporty and to satisfy everyone: the public, the sponsors and their own physical shape. It was something everybody was enthusiast and excited about, ultimately it results in an average event.
John Travolta and Robert De Niro were summoned to play in this “Tom and Jerry” film. The first time they appear together on the big screen . Travolta is a former Serbian soldier Emil Kovac with a huge beard, who was a member of the Scorpions, a paramilitary unit that was active during the Yugoslavian war and later stood trial for crimes committed in this war. He wants to take revenge on Benjamin Ford, who left him for dead at that time during an execution. De Niro plays Benjamin Ford, an ex-soldier who turned his back on the army after the dirty war in Bosnia and withdrew in the Appalachia mountains, far away from his family he’s trying to avoid. He leads a life as a woodsman and spends his time with hiking, chopping wood and making pictures of the wildlife there. One day they meet and Kovac gives him a helping hand to get his jeep back on course. They end up together at the table in the cabin of Ford and enjoy a meal and a bottle of Jägermeister while they tell war stories . The invitation to go hunting together is on the table, and when Ford decides the next morning to go hunting for a deer and take it back home as a trophy. Eventually the situation evolves into a hunt after each other . As Kovac said in the beginning of the film with a heavy Slavic accent “I’m going hunting …. “
It’s not the over-exaggerated and weird accent from Travolta that nerved me. Frankly, I didn’t think it sounded so wrong or misplaced. But what bothered me was the ping-pong game between the two rivals. Every time we had to wait once again till one of the two would save himself out of a hopeless situation and holds the counter-party in a grip. It’s obvious they are both hardened by their military past. An arrow right through your fibula and then subsequently hung up on it, is absolutely no impediment to start running through the woods afterwards for them. And being impaled on a door when an arrow got shot right through your two cheeks and then still start a monologue without losing your accent is also obvious. It was a bit overdone and predictable.
The applied tortures (painful to see, but not disgustingly filmed) I found appropriate, but ultimately I think it’s used to make it a bit weightier and shocking. There were enough opportunities to deprive the opponent‘s life. Eventually I had the feeling that this was not the main goal anyway. It was just waiting for the finale to see what the outcome would ultimately be. Playing the hunter and hunted was done in a beautiful natural environment. And the cozy log cabin with a cozy fireplace and a nicely finished interior was also wonderful to watch. That was surely a positive thing here.
You can’t call it a blockbuster , but then again it wasn’t that terribly bad. Certainly there won’t be any prizes awarded for this typical story. But if you look at what movies they played recently, Travolta in “Wild Hogs“, “Hairspray” and “Old Dogs” and De Niro in “The Big Wedding Big Wedding“, “The Family” and “American Hustle“, then it’s quite a relief to see these two legendary actors play such roles again. I’m sure this macho film, in which the transition from revenge to peace neatly expires, will appear on the summary of these two Hollywood stars in small print and it will end up in oblivion as a fait divers.
My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB