March 22, 2006

DVD Review: Demon Hunter

I had no idea that it would wind up being this hard to write about this forgettable little film. I have been trying to put thought to screen for the past couple of hours, and for some reason the words are just not finding a way to escape my brain. It seems like I have already forgotten about this little exercise of a film. I guess I can try to squeeze something out.

The plot reads like a low rent retread of Constantine. A half human/half demon, struggling with his own demons, goes around hunting, uh, demons. He does his work in the service of the Church, and is inevitably paired with a young nun on a hunt for a particularly powerful and nasty demon who is bent on spreading his seed through the seedy side of town, with the aid of a succubus.

Not really sure I was expecting much, and I'm glad I kept the expectations low. The story never takes off. There are plenty of speeches on both sides that hint at something greater, yet that something greater never comes. The speeches and poses are interrupted on a few occasions for a fight scene or a softcore romp in a dirty hotel. I guess I should not have expected any high art from a direct to video title with the story revealing title of Demon Hunter.

There are a couple of good things in the movie, namely Sean Patrick Flanery and Billy Drago. Granted, this is the second rate, B-movie versions, but they are effective nonetheless. The rest of the acting is well below these two.

Sean Patrick Flanery stars as Jake Greyman, our hybrid hero. He has a rather detached approach to the character, now if that is by design or if he just really didn't want to be there is not known. If truly was bored by the goings on, he certainly made it work to his advantage. On the opposite side of the coin is Billy Drago as the demon Asmodeus. Drago is quite a character, who clearly relishes this kind of role, slipping into this seedy, creepy, sexually charged lech of a man.

The movie really felt like a TV movie, more than that, perhaps this was meant as a pilot for a cable show. Just cut out the gratuitous nudity and you have the makings of series tailor made for the syndicated circuit, or, perhaps, the Sci Fi Channel. Its plot borrows liberally from sources like the previously mentioned Constantine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Prophecy, among others. All of these recognizable points do nothing but hurt the movie, as there is no real ingenuity or creativity layered on top.

Video. The disk is presented in an anamorphically enhanced widescreen in a ratio of 1.77:1. It looks good for a low budget effort, if a touch to the dark side.

Audio. There are two tracks here, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. I sampled both tracks and they both sounded pretty good. Nothing terribly extraordinary.

Extras. This is where they do a good job with a nice selection of extras for a budget title.
-Commentary, featuring writer Mitch Gould and actress Nancy Yoon. I listened to a little bit of the track, it was OK. The pair too often fell into watching the movie rather than talking about it, leading to some dry spells, and not all of what they had to say was terribly interesting.
-Featurette: "Demons Among Us." This is a relatively entertaining 43 minute program, gives a nice look into low budget filmmaking. The highlight has to be Billy Drago and the art of the filmed sex scene, what a guy.
-Fight Sequence Rehearsal. This is a brief 4 minute clip of some fight footage and wire work as they geared up towards the filming.
-Trailers. The original trailer for the movie is included.

Bottomline. Perhaps this would be decent rental on a dull night with nothing else to do. If nothing else, you get some T&A mixed with your glue on horns and quasi-martial arts fights, not to mention the speeches which espouse to something bigger. This kind of story has potential, it's too bad that it is not fully realized here.

Not Recommended. ** / *****

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