Backstory: Gibson revenge flick based on The Hunter by way cool crime novelist Donald E. Westlake, writing under the name Richard Stark. Book inspired director John Borman’s 1967 cult film gave Point Blank and director Taylor Hackford’s Parker (the less said about this 2012 Jason Statham actioner, the better.)
Reel Story: Shot and left for dead by his double-crossing wife and his partner, Gibson’s vindictive gangster recovers nicely and sets out to kick some serious butt and get back the loot “stolen” from him. All of which puts him on a collision course with a powerful syndicate.
H.I.P. (How It Plays): Despite screenwriter/director Brian Helgeland’s tough guy dialogue and the snub-nosed existentialism of the plot and its characters, this material was used much more effectively in the 1967 film and Gibson certainly isn’t a match for Lee Marvin in the lead role. Marvin doesn’t have to work to convince me of his cold remorseless sense of purpose. I can feel it in his steely gaze.