J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Boone: The Bounty Hunter—Reality TV Gets the Treatment It Deserves

Forget about the seasons of Survivor and The Real World shot in Mexico. The truth is this where reality gets real. A television bounty hunter will have to learn that the hard way when he ventures south of the border in search of a million-dollar bail-jumper in Robert Kirbyson’s Boone: The Bounty Hunter (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.

Boone was an elite military commando, who became a legit working bounty hunter. Unfortunately, TV turned him into a showboating caricature, only suited to running down minor celebrities with delinquent parking tickets. Apparently, the shtick has worn thin, because his producer just received a cancelation notice, but as John “Bluto” Blutarsky says in Animal House, when the going gets tough … So, Boone hatches a plan to apprehend the entitled son of notorious drug deal, who just skipped out on charges he accidentally murdered his girlfriend with a mixture of roofies and designer drugs.

Bone-headed Boone assumes he and his tech support crew, Kat and Denny, can just waltz down to the cartel-dominated town and whisk Ryan Davenport away, but he underestimates how thoroughly Cole Davenport’s operation has entrenched itself. After the initial snatch turns sour, Kat and Denny find themselves incarcerated in the town’s sketchy prison, while Boone is forced to stash Davenport in a porta-potty.

Boone the Motion Picture certainly isn’t shy about physical comedy. Most of the gags revolve around Boone’s wildly flamboyant but impractical wrestling-derived style of fighting. At times, it could be described as a redneck Kung Fu Hustle. Yet, you have to admire all that physicality, because it shows Kirbyson and John Hennigan, the executive producer, co-screenwriter and lead, aimed to please.

Pro-wrestler Hennigan (a.k.a. John Morrison, a.k.a. Johnny Mundo in Lucha Libre circles) definitely has the size and over-the-top action chops. He is also willing to look totally ridiculous as the pig-headed, believing-his-own-hype Boone. As Kat and Denny, Spencer Grammer and Osric Chau keep things relatively grounded and give the audience figures to identify with. Lateef Crowder and T.J. Storm show off some real deal martial arts skills as Davenport’s enforcers, the Cardoza Brothers (or “Milli Vanilli,” as Boone drolly calls them). Former Zakman King repertory player Richard Tyson hams it up passably well as the villainous senior Davenport, but probably nobody makes a greater impact than Kevin Sorbo, gamely playing himself as a celebrity feeling Boone’s parking ticket wrath.

It is hard to believe all this cartoon mayhem was directed by the same filmmaker who helmed the family-friendly Snowmen, but here it is. Frankly, most kids will probably enjoy Boone more. Arguably, it is one of the better star-vehicles for wrestlers (also featuring Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as Boone’s fed-up back-up), because it recognizes it limitations and tries its best to convert them into strengths. Recommended for teen fans and meatheads of all ages, Boone: The Bounty Hunter is now available on VOD platforms, including iTunes.

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