Film

Help Us, Richard Gere!

Bosnia, Chuck Norris, and The Hunting Party

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A flabby, uninspired action film that hopes its political agenda will distract audiences from its general crappiness, The Hunting Party takes oblique aim at the current administration's poor track record in hunting down war criminals. Set in the aftermath of the Bosnian War, the "based on true events" plot hinges on the inability—or unwillingness—of government agencies to track down a Serbian war criminal called "The Fox." So where the UN fails, truth and justice are left with only one defender: Richard Gere.

Gere plays Simon, a war correspondent who has an on-air meltdown while covering the war in Bosnia. Simon then disappears for years—only to emerge again in (surprise!) Bosnia, broke and broken, where he reunites with his old cameraman, Duck (Terrence Howard).

Simon has personal reasons for wanting The Fox (Ljubomir Kerekes) dead. (It has something to do with a beautiful dead girl and overwrought flashback sequences.) So Simon concocts a story about wanting to interview The Fox, and manages to coerce Duck and brainy nerd-kick Benjamin (Jesse Eisenberg) into helping him—but it soon becomes clear that Simon has dragged the others on a homicide mission.

The Hunting Party strives to position itself as a thinking man's action movie: Witness its unconventional structure and meta-nods to other action movies (Chuck Norris references abound). Unfortunately, it's not quite smart enough for most of the thinking men I know, and I'd advise thinking women to give this one a wide berth as well. (The women in this movie are: hot but dumb, or dead, or black widow spiders. So much for that political agenda.)

But whether based on true events or not, there's no forgiving writer/director Richard Shepard's hodgepodge of uninspired dialogue ("Putting your life in danger is actual living. The rest is just television.") and painful clichés. As far as I can tell from the testosterone-dependent The Hunting Party, being in a war zone is like having a partial erection all the time. But for all the semi-erect men running around in this film, the result is frustratingly flaccid.

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