Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Bounty Hunter (1990)

THE EXTERMINATOR made TV actor Robert Ginty (BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP) a bankable star in low-budget exploitation movies. After a decade of seeing his photo on video boxes lining rental shelves, he decided he wanted to direct drive-in pictures too. His first shot behind the camera was Action International’s THE BOUNTY HUNTER, which he mostly lensed in Sand Springs, Oklahoma with EXTERMINATOR cinematographer Robert Baldwin. One location was William R. Pogue Municipal Airport, which was named after NASA’s first Native American astronaut.

Ginty takes a writing credit and top billing as Duke Evans, a tight-lipped bounty hunter who arrives in a small Southwestern town to look into the death of his ‘Nam buddy Tom Foot, a Native American who was allegedly shot in self-defense by cops while in custody. In a bit of lazy but effective casting, Bo Hopkins (THE WILD BUNCH) co-stars as corrupt, slow-talking redneck sheriff Bennett, who threatens Duke and advises him not to stick his nose into town business. Looks like ol’ Bennett is in bed with the oil companies, who want to kick the Indians off the reservation so they can take the oil buried there.

Ginty’s directing debut isn’t really very good. His inexperience shows at time, such as an opening bar fight that suffers from a lack of coverage. The sound and music score are rough, and the script by Ginty and Thomas Baldwin (FUTURE FORCE) features a simplistic bad-white-men-vs-good-red-men message and clunky pacing. Hopkins is watchable, of course, even when exerting the least possible effort—much more so than Ginty, whose tough guy is more of a dead fish (and I’m pretty sure Bo is going off-script on occasion, as his dialogue is usually livelier than everyone else’s). Native American actress Loeta Waterdown, playing Tom Foot’s schoolteacher sister, doesn’t seem to have acted again and was probably a local. Noted character actor Rex Linn, a regular on CSI: MIAMI, plays a policeman.

No comments: