Feb 2008 05

Richard Shepard’s follow up to the entertaining The Matador is a knockout that takes you along for the ride from start to finish.

The film follows Duck, a war camera man that won awards and gained recognition working with Simon Hunt who was the top field journalist of his time. After an on screen meltdown Hunt is exiled from the reporting world and Duck finds himself as the lead anchor’s cameraman. Duck returns to Bosnia 5 years after the meltdown that Hunt had while reporting in the same country at the end of the Serbian War. Hunt reappears to Duck with the story of a lifetime and asks for him to tag along for old times sake. Duck reluctantly agrees and a young journalist, Benjamin, talks his way along for the ride to try and make a name of himself with his dad, a network executive.
Hunt’s plan is to find and interview the elusive Bosnian war criminal, The Fox, who is the most wanted and notorious man from the war. The trio quickly discover that they might be in over there head’s and are sending the wrong messages to some people who they really are. They meet eccentric characters through out there adventure and encounter near death almost always. It is a fun and crazy story that needs to be seen to believe.
Terrence Howard continues his string of excellent work and further solidifies himself as one of the best actors working today. Duck is funny, smart, and experienced and acts as the rationale veteran of the adventure. He serves as a mentor to Benjamin while trying to control the kind of crazy Hunt.
Hunt is played with great effect by Richard Gere who had a good year of movies nobody saw. He plays Hunt perfectly as a guy you want to trust and can get sucked in by his charisma even if you know you might be heading for trouble. He is also able to handle the sadder moments as well when they pop up for him to deal with.
The last member of the trio is the rookie character on a hell of a roller coaster ride with these two seasoned vets played wonderfully by Jesse Eisenberg. You really get to see his character develop while also injecting some great humor along the way. He runs the course for all the emotions you are feeling and throws them out for you to fell like, “I know!”
The film it’s self is quickly paced and never slows down. Shepard has made up for his pacing pit falls with his previous effort and has constructed a funny and thrilling film that entertains on every level. From the actors to the history everything is compelling and well done. The film does miss that magical punch though that shoots it into the upper echelon of films from 07 and doesn’t linger with you like many amazing films do.
In the end though, The Hunting Party is an excellent adventure film that is filled with a modern history lesson. The actors are great and the directing is top notch and you won’t find many more consistently entertaining films from 07. I did have some issue with the last scene, but they disclaimer it in the voice over, which I immediately agreed with what Duck said about. Though, I can’t not recommend this movie as it was an entertaining romp from start to finish and one of the better films from 07.


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