Friday, April 4, 2008

Movie Review: Hard Bounty (1995)... John Brown loves westerns...

Hard Bounty (1995)

A "lady of the evening" is wronged, a blackmail scheme bubbles to the surface and a recently retired bounty hunter-turned-saloon keeper teams up with a group of prostitutes (one of whom is his girlfriend) to right various wrongs. That is Hard Bounty and it is bad.

Hard Bounty is a Jim Wynorski movie. Wynorski is a Roger Corman protege and a respected player on the B-movie scene. He works fast, he works cheap and his movies make money. As far as I can tell, the Wynorski formula is relatively simple. Keep the plot straightforward. Favor action over dialog. Get at least a couple of semi-recognizable faces for the cast. Ignore detail. Show tit. Hard Bounty follows the formula.

Matt McCoy is the bounty hunter. His version of "the man with no name" is awesome in its silliness. It is impossible to tell if McCoy is offering a weird parody of/homage to the Eastwood/Leone projects or if he's doing the schtick for real. Let it be known that Matt McCoy is far more compelling and believable as Lloyd Braun in a couple of Seinfeld episodes than he is as a leading man in a crappy B-western.

Hard Bounty really does create a puzzle for its viewer. One can never be sure of what he or she is actually watching. Is this a western? Is it a comedy without jokes? Is Wynorski copying Sergio Leone or is he tipping his rented Stetson to him? Is this parody? Are they playing it straight? What the fuck is going on here?

Kelly LeBrock is the girlfriend/whore. Slightly past her prime as an 80s starlet, she's still a hottie and she looks downright nifty in black lace and fishnets. She can't act. She is one of the few female cast members who fails to bare her boobs. That is unfortunate.

The bad guys suffer from the exacta of film doom. They can't act worth a shit and they're given dialog that would induce a cringe even if delivered by a master thespian. They are more stupid than evil; more boring than mean.

The prostitutes are hot. Rochelle Swanson, a favorite among B-movie T&A fans is in the mix. That seems like reasonable casting, no? They get naked and have wonderfully spherical and oversized breasts. Hard Bounty proves that even bad B-level actresses can afford good plastic surgeons. Hard Bounty teaches another lesson. Sexy women with guns kick ass. Okay, that's something we already knew (even way back in the day of The Dalton Girls), but I'm always down with a refresher course.

I don't review every western I watch and I don't even finish every western I start watching. Take The Shadow Riders, for instance. I've failed to finish this movie on three separate occasions. I restart the flick and find myself either sleepy or bored within minutes. How can it be that a western with Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot is impossible to watch while one featuring Kelly LeBrock and Matt McCoy held my interest for the entirety of its 90+ minutes?

This movie would seem to be a completely unwatchable piece of crap. It should be impossible for yours truly to actually sit through the whole damn thing. It is unthinkable that I would bother reviewing it. This is a movie in which six-guns fire seven rounds and tire tracks are visible on western dirt roads. Hard Bounty's action is choreographed at home video levels. Everything looks fake.

And yet I'm here, writing about it. That is the great mystery of Hard Bounty: Why? Why is it watchable?

I don't have an answer. Wynorski may have found the magical boobs/minute rate to maintain straight male interest. Kelly LeBrock might be just good looking enough that you can't quite bring yourself to turn the damn TV off. You may be distracted, trying to determine why anyone made this movie in this way. You could be impressed by the "devil may care" attitude exhibited--this is clearly a movie in which no one tried their hardest. Matt McCoy might be just weird enough that you fight the urge to put yourself out of your Hard Bounty-induced misery.

Trying to solve that mystery might be just enough of a reason to watch it. Probably not, though.

Final Rating:

(1/5 Singing Cowboys)


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  1. "She is one of the few female cast members who fails to bare her boobs. That is unfortunate."

    Unfortunate, indeed.

  2. You can hardly expect an oscar winner for this type of film, but it was ok in the end, although the last half does descend into a farce, with the girls miraculously being able to kill everybody, despite not being able to hit a thing five minutes before.