Killing Season


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

John Travolta in Killing Season, to be presented at Karlovy Vary.
"The nagging thought during the 90 minutes is how far two these one-time Hollywood’s A-listers have fallen."

It should have been a pairing to quicken the pulse - Travis Bickle meets Tony Manero - but Killing Season, a revenge thriller, fails to deliver except as a confused meditation on war with lots of graphic violence.

John Travolta, for reasons best known to himself, has been active on the European festival circuit to promote it after its inauspicious release in July in the States.

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Robert De Niro is the more convincing of the two as an American veteran Benjamin Ford with Travolta as Serbian soldier Emil Kovac (complete with a bizarre accent and a beard which appears to have a life of its own).

Just for atmosphere, the Bosnian conflict is captured at the start with some shakey imagery and a series of executions. Apparently, Ford shot Kovac in the back, leaving him for dead. Kovac recovers, then learns the identity of his would-be killer and travels to the States to go “hunting”.

De Niro’s character lives in the wild in a remote cabin. What ensues is a cat and mouse game of changing fortunes in the breathtaking scenery of the Appalachians (one of the film's rare compensations).

There are few opportunities for the “star” actors to display their mettle. The script by Snow White And The Huntsman writer Evan Daugherty, gives them little assistance and confuses with mixed messages.

The issues in the Bosnian War are never addressed properly with the narrative simply providing opportunities for the pair to inflict various degrees of torture on each other. De Niro, to be fair, is the more sympathetic of the two characters and provides, at best, a serviceable performance. Travolta, on the other hand, seems to be left adrift with his accent and the unsettling facial fuzz.

The nagging thought during the 90 minutes is how far two these one-time Hollywood’s A-listers have fallen. It is not their finest hour and a half.

Reviewed on: 06 Sep 2013
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Killing Season packshot
American and Serb soldiers who fought on opposite sides in the Bosnia War clash once again in a tense, action-packed game of cat and mouse set in the gorgeous yet inaccessible Appalachian Mountains.
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Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Writer: Evan Daugherty

Starring: Robert De Niro, John Travolta, Milo Ventimiglia, Elizabeth Olin

Year: 2013

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Belgium, US

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