9 September 2012 | Spikeopath
Your father said the best part of you ran down your mamas leg.
Death Hunt is directed by Peter Hunt and written by Michael Grais and Mark Victor. It stars Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Carl Weathers, Ed Lauter, Andrew Stevens, Scott Hyland, Maury Chaykin and Angie Dickinson. Music is by Jerrold Immel and cinematography by James Devis.
Film is loosely based on the real "Mad Trapper" man hunt that occurred in the Yukon Territory, Canada, 1931.
Directed by the man who helmed On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and starring two of the iconic stars of The Dirty Dozen, it's no surprise to find Death Hunt full of machismo. What transpires is a two part movie, where time is afforded the set up for the first half, and the second half features the man hunt across the Yukon landscapes.
Plot basically sees Bronson as nomadic loner Albert Johnson (The Mad Trapper of lore), who rescues a severely injured dog from a dog fight held by baying locals, much to their displeasure. Unwisely tracking Johnson down and taking him on, one of their number is shot and killed. So in come the legal guys, the RCMP, led by grizzled old pro Edgar Millen (Marvin), who desperately tries to keep things in order as the situation quickly spirals out of control. As Johnson takes to the snowy terrain, with Millen and co in pursuit, a respect begins to form between the two wise heads, with Millen very much aware that there will be only one winner in this hunt.
So it goes, framed by lovely location photography, and with Bronson and Marvin doing what they do best, film plays out as a snowy chase and survive adventure. It's very much fictionalised from the real story, but some instances are real, including the incredible journey that Johnson undertook whilst fleeing his pursuers. Violence slots in and out of proceedings, as does moments of humour, and there's a nice grey area in the narrative that questions who you should be rooting for. In fact Marvin's characterisation of Millen is very enjoyable because he is irked by the cretins he finds himself hunting with.
Some of the support players are under written, so therefore underused, while Dickinson pops in only briefly and purely as a bit of sexy relief from the machismo on show. All told it's a safe and enjoyable movie for fans of the stars and fans of outdoor action/adventure/thrillers. Kind of like First Blood meets The Fugitive who then take Seraphim Falls out for a drink. Only, remember, this was before all those and it has Bronson and Marvin in the locker! 7/10