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Let’s not do the time warp again with Night Hunter

12 September, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

Henry Cavill is the cop with a troubled life

NIGHT HUNTER
Directed by David Raymond
Certificate 15

This odd film might have had the potential to become a late-night cult classic at indie cinemas where drunk people shout the worst lines at the screen. But the jumbled plot means that after just even half a glass of shandy, cinemagoers would get too confused to remember what is coming next and miss the cue to holler the laughably bad script out when prompted.

Night Hunter has stepped out of a tough-guy time warp, drawing on elements of 70s and 80s male hero fantasies that were prevalent in police thriller cinema of the period.

Strapping policeman Marshall (Henry Cavill, channeling a look that says “Boden catalogue does tough guy enforcer”) is the cop with a troubled private life, caused by having seen too much at the coalface of crime in Minneapolis.

He carries a firearm on his hip like a Wild West gunslinger and this appendage is glued to him everywhere he goes. He garners pleasure not just in drawing his firearm to make the baddies bleed but takes it out of its holster to eat a bowl of spaghetti, as if he is saying “pass the parmesan or else”.  His character is a jumble of clichés ranging from a no-nonsense Dirty Harry approach to policing through to being just a sensitive soul who wants to protect his daughter from evil.

Our cop is on the trail of Simon  (Brendan Fletcher), a kidnapper with a basement full of abducted women. The wobbly story includes a retired judge (Ben Kingsley), who lures paedophiles to hotels where he boshes them on the head, handcuffs them to a bed and castrates them.

What does this film say? That Hollywood still can’t get enough of the lonesome troubled hero, or that cop thriller screenwriting still has a long way to go to creating with believable – or even just quasi-respectful – female roles?

Night Hunter has a hotch-potch of soggy ideas thrown together like a plot line pick’n’mix. It lacks guile and subtlety and, as a thriller, has no sense of tension.

The biggest mystery is how this yarn has actors of the calibre of Stanley Tucci and Kingsley appearing.

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