Ladies and Gents, this is Rob Sibley…
I’ve always enjoyed the films of Michael Dudikoff. They never had big budgets and they usually were shot in the Philippines. They didn’t have the highest caliber acting or special effects but they possessed that budget charm that action fans love and miss from Cannon Group.
Canon brought us everything from the Bronson classic 10 to midnight, Death Wish 3 & 4. The criminally underrated Exterminator 2 and one of Sly’s most iconic films â€œCobraâ€. They even delved into a bit of Elmore Leonard penned sleaze with 52 pick up. Why the Cannon history? They brought us American Ninja 1 & 2 and doing so made Michael Dudikoff a name.
Sadly these days when his name is brought up it’s brought up with a sense of irony and jest which is a shame. The man can still act and has enough charm and the martial arts chops to carry a movie and I’ll defend his work all night and day. There is talk about him doing another American Ninja film and you know what? I really hope that project becomes a reality.
The Dudikoff film is question were here to talk about is â€œThe Bounty Hunterâ€ which is receiving it’s first Blu-ray release courtesy of Echo Brige.
So let’s delve into the world of The Bounty Hunter. Dudikoff plays a bounty hunter Jersey Bellini. He’s not your typical tough guy, he’s got a more laid back quirky attitude. His best friend also just so happens to be an 8 year old kid who leaves next door. This kid will obviously end up in some state of peril half way through the picture. But the friendship works, seems for a while in action pictures kids were always a popular pairing with action stares. The Burt Reynolds flick â€œCop & a halfâ€ comes to mind.
Complicating matters is a bounteousness (if you will) by the name of B.B. Played with a cute toughness by the lovely Lisa Howard (Fans of the Highlander TV series will remember her). B.B. Isn’t a damsel in distress, she can bounty hunt with the best of em and knows a thing or two about throwing some fist-a-cuffs.
The plot is set into motion when both of them go skip chasing after a felon who just happened to steal a Roll Royce with something in the trunk. That something is a wised mouth hooker who was witnessed to a mob hit. How the Mob is not only after the hooker but Jersey & B.B. As well.
What can I say about 1996 action flick? It’s a helluva lotta fun from start to finish. The attitude is what I found most refreshing. Nothing is taken too seriously, people call it â€œCheesyâ€ yeah that’s the point. Everyone involved knew they were making an action film with a heavy sense of humor. The tone really reminds me of the action flicks of the late 80’s/early 90’s then it does a mid 90’s action flick.
If you want action, you got it. Within the first five minutes, Dudikoff is attacked by one of his bounty with a flame thrower! How does Dudikoff manage to get around this tricky situation? Drives his â€œwar vanâ€ through the poor smuchks trailer. Through out the film you get plenty of hand to hand fights which are nothing revolutionary but are fun. Countless gun battles as well. But the heart of the film lies between the chemistry that Dudikoff & Lisa Howard have. It’s almost film-nor in the snarky/smart ass lines that they jab each other with back and fourth.
I wasn’t looking for something profound when I watched this. I wasn’t expecting to have my mind blown or expanded and I certainly didn’t expect the film to answer any questions to why we exist. I went it wanting to turn my brain off for 90 minutes and have a good time. This film accomplished that, so well done Dudikoff, well done!
The Blu-ray from Echo Bridge is surprisingly good. I was initially worried when I saw that the film was being presented in not full high definition as listed but… actually 1080I not the full 1080P. It could have been a miss-print on the box because this transfer is nothing to scoff at. Colors are actually spot on, contrast is good. The black levels are sharp enough and even some fine details pop. It was a low budget film and this is the best it ever looked.
Audio is a 2.0 track which gets the jobs done, again no complaints.
Sadly no extras, not even a trailer. But I can live with that.
This a fun film that any Dudikoff fan should own. It’s a light and breezy watch, that’s worth your time. The Blu-ray from Echo Bridge is surprisingly solid. This comes HIGHLY RECCOMENDED.
Also one thing to take note also being released on Blu-ray soon is the much better sequel â€œBounty Hunters: 2: Hardballâ€. Be on the look out for that one!