Plot: What’s it about?
You know, it’s kind of funny. When I saw the cover for Killing Season I had to do a double take. Is that really John Travolta and Robert De Niro on the cover for a movie that I’ve never heard of? Furthermore, is there a reason for it? There’s gotta be, otherwise the marketing folks would be inundating us with advertisements telling us how we need to see this film starring two modern Hollywood legends. I don’t know about you, but I never saw those ads. The truth is that even the most “A” list of stars make bad, low budget movies. That’s not to say that a low budget movie is automatically bad – far from it. But even the best actor can only do so much with the role that he or she is given and, unfortunately, Killing Season seems to suffer from a predictable plot and poor writing. I have to take my hat off to the filmmakers, though, just to get these two in a movie together (their first pairing, I think?) is quite the feat. De Niro, with two Academy Awards under his belt and Travolta with such iconic roles like Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction under his – that’s impressive. Let’s see if the film has any redeeming qualities.
We meet Emil Kovac (John Travolta), someone who not only sports the absolute worst facial hair you’ve ever seen. Emil has just come by some valuable information in that he’s found out that Benjamin Ford’s (Robert De Niro) whereabouts. We then see Ford’s days as he takes pictures of the local wildlife and seems to have a rather tense relationship with his son, Chris (Milo Ventimiglia). As fate would have it, Emil just so happens to be in the woods where he meets up with Benjamin. The two, after a rather rocky start, end up telling old tales and draining a bottle of Jaegermeister. How nice. But it’s also at this time that the physical and psychological games start and, as much as I hate to say it, a cat-and-mouse game ensues. Surely we know that there’s more to Emil than meets the eye, but what about Ben?
To be honest, I’d totally forgotten about the conflict in Serbia and it wasn’t until the opening credits of the film that reminded me of it. That’s a bit beside the point, but you see – I must fill this third paragraph with little tidbits from the film and personal observations. It’s what I do. With respect to both Travolta and De Niro, this isn’t their best work but I’ll also say that it’s not their worst. Both are extremely versatile actors and though Travolta’s Eastern European accent is all over the map (and I still couldn’t get over that facial hair and hair cut) I’m betting he did better than a lot of actors could.Trite, tired and predictable Killing Season won’t win any awards, but I’m sure that someone out there can find something positive to say about the film. That person isn’t me.
Video: How does it look?
Killing Season arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Millennium Entertainment and the included 2.40:1 AVC HD image has a few moments, but by and large is pretty inconsistent regarding how it looks. There’s nothing terribly “wrong” with the way this looks, but some scenes are a bit too bright and others are a bit too dark. Contrast and black levels are strong, detail is as we’d expect (we can see every pore on Travolta’s face and every wrinkle in De Niro’s) with a Blu-ray movie. A few of the indoor scenes seems to have a bit more grain that I’d thought as well.
Audio: How does it sound?
To its credit, Killing Season does sport a very robust Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The opening sequence features some “archived” footage from the Serbian conflict and, though fictionalized, it does actually have some good examples of sound. Vocals are strong and consistent, we can hear Travolta’s accent fluctuate a number of times with the utmost of clarity. Surrounds, though not that active, do play a part in the film while the front stage shoulders the rest of the mix.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There’s only one supplement included, a brief 2 and a half minute featurette with some tidbits from De Niro and Mark Steven Johnson.