From AIP (Action International Pictures) comes The Bounty Hunter which Robert Ginty co-wrote, directed and starred in; it was clearly a passion project for him as it feels very personal.
It tells the story of an ex-cop turned bounty hunter called Evans (Ginty) who shows up in a small town looking for a man who’s jumped bail. However, the real reason he’s there is to avenge his old friend, an Indian who lived in the area and was murdered by the local sheriff, who is trying to get the Indians to sell their land cheaply so an oil company can move in and take over the land, which they believe sits on top of large reserves of oil (thanks IMDB).
In the first few minutes we get a barfight showing that Evans isn’t someone that should be trifled with although he comes across as more of a normal guy rather than an invincible, badass action hero. It’s the kind of character he could play in his sleep to be honest as he’s yet another Vietnam vet but he’s believable enough and a sympathetic protagonist.
Bo Hopkins chews the scenery as the evil Sheriff who bullies the local Indian population (and some of his own staff) into selling their land so he can make money from it. He’s wonderfully slimy and one of the best actors in the movie. A lot of the rest of the acting is a little questionable and the script isn’t all that memorable although I did enjoy Evans’ “enjoy the swim” one-liner.
It’s not exactly an adrenaline rush but at around an hour and 20 minutes it moves along at a relatively decent pace and Bo Hopkins is just so evil that you’ll hate him every second he is on screen. In terms of action it’s mostly just a few lowkey shoot-outs and a few beatdowns but nothing particularly exciting.
The story is every bit as relevant today as it was back in 1989 with police corruption and racism as prevalent as ever. It manages to avoid being overly preachy though and still manages to entertain.
Overall, The Bounty Hunter is a rather generic action movie which rarely thrills but Ginty makes for an amiable lead and Bo Hopkins shines as the despicable Sheriff. If you can track it down then maybe check it our but you can live without it.