Toronto After Dark 2013: Bounty Killer and Big Ass Spider! Reviews
Based on a graphic novel of the same name, Bounty Killer leaves its bombastic, cartoonish roots in tact and delivers senseless violence, gallons of blood, and 93 minutes of unapologetic entertainment. The second feature at this year’s festival, it followed up the subtly elegant We Are What We Are with a sharp tonal shift. While it can hardly be described as horror, it will certainly satisfy genre fans.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, global warfare instigated by major corporations overthrowing the world’s governments has laid waste to society. Now there is just a barren wasteland overrun by corporate greed. Bounty killers now collect a fat wad of cash for the heads of the white-collar criminals responsible for the decimation of the planet. They are superstars, celebrities of the new world order. The film follows the two top bounty killers as they attempt to track down a crazed CEO out to destroy them, and evade the corporate cronies and gypsy bandits out for their heads.
With a vibe that seems to cross just about any Mad Max film and Tank Girl, the film moves at a violent and feverish pace. The downside to this is that key character development is left out. In spite of this flaw, the action sequences are hilarious and entertaining, the chase scenes are riveting, and the dialogue is hilarious. Both deliberately hammy, and admittedly clever, Bounty Killer fulfills its promise of entertainment.
Big Ass Spider!
The title says it all. This is a film about one big ass spider that goes on a rampage through Los Angeles. A lab experiment gone awry, a standard garden spider accidentally ingests alien biological material and transforms into a monstrous killing machine. As the government tracks it down, so too does hapless exterminator Alex Mathis (Heroes’ Greg Grunberg.) In an attempt to prove himself and get the girl, Lieutenant Karly Brant (Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Clare Kramer,) he teams up with security guard Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar) to save the day.
Fast paced, it’s hammy from start to finish. With hilarious dialogue between Grunberg and Boyar, it’s incredibly entertaining. The CGI, however, is laughably bad, which is arguably some of its charm. While the creature is small, able to hide in shadows, it’s incredibly effective. However, as it progressively grows larger, uses its acidic venom, and comes out in broad daylight the design flaws are unavoidably obvious.
That being said, again, I draw your attention to its title. Like Snakes on a Plane before it, its intentions are clear from the start. It’s about a big ass spider. It promises laughs across the board: laughable fight scenes, genuinely funny dialogue, and deliberately cheesy performances. It’s a fun time, but ultimately not much to write home about. Bring a bag of popcorn, some candy, and enjoy.