Friday 21 September 2018

Movie Review: Any Bullet Will Do (2018)

A basic revenge western, Any Bullet Will Do aims for a vintage vibe but fires blank derivatives instead.

During the Civil War, the Ransom brothers Hollis (Kevin Makely) and Everett (Todd A. Robinson) are on opposite sides. For Unionist Hollis the war is personal, with the Confederate Everett having killed Hollis' negro lover just as the war was breaking out. Both survive the war and Hollis commits his life to finding and killing Everett.

But by 1876 he is in Montana working as lonely bounty hunter capturing criminals on behalf of Jonathan Carrington (Bruce Davison), the owner of the largest gold mine in the territory. Everett and his gang, now Ku Klux Klan members, make an appearance in the area, reigniting Hollis' search. He teams up with spirited young tracker Rose Gage (Jenny Curtis) and they set off into the snowy wilderness to hunt down the killers.

An independent film written and directed by Justin Lee, Any Bullet Will Do has patches of quality and engaging ambiance, but frequently falls short. The big sky snow-covered Montana scenery is often spectacular, the cast members are adequate, and some of the small town sets convincingly convey a gritty and inhospitable frontier.

But otherwise the film settles for regurgitating ideas from plenty of other westerns, and suffers from pacing issues and some clunky execution. The premise of intense personal revenge fueling a lifelong quest is routine genre fodder, and the interpersonal dynamics of a grizzled veteran killer teaming up with a fresh faced and resourceful but innocent young woman carries the familiar echoes of True Grit.

The dialogue is mostly elemental, and when Lee reaches for profound, and he does so often as Hollis and Rose trudge for long stretches through the difficult terrain, the words sound hollow due to shallow characterizations. The mechanics of the chase are not helped by Everett being cast as a fully evil and unredeemable character, who nevertheless fails to end the hunt when presented the opportunity to do so, just to prolong the movie.

Elsewhere the film does not shy away from some unsanitized displays of blood and gore, and sometimes tilts towards unnecessary exploration of gaping wounds. The music is an uncoordinated and incessant mishmash of tunes, often unsuitably too modern for the context.

Any Bullet Will Do does dip its toe into some modern themes, most notably equal pay for equal work and women's social standing. But the good intentions mostly just disappear into the snowdrifts of mundane ideas.

All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.