REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers — September 16, 2013 at 11:57 pm

REVIEW: Killing Season (2013)

killing-season-2013-1War is hell, no matter how you look at it. Iran and Iraq have gone through it. Afghanistan did too. Vietnam did it before them. And in the early and mid 90’s it was Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1 April 1992 and 14 December 1995.

The film opens up in 1995, when the U.S. military forces, along with NATO allies intervened in the conflict. After a couple of poorly directed shootout scenes, we see several Serbian soldiers being executed. One of them, Emil Kovac (John Travolta) somehow survives…

Years later, in the present day, Kovac pulls a few strings to get the information on the soldier that did not kill him during the war, who turns out to be Colonel Benjamin Ford (Robert De Niro). Now Kovac is all about revenge. Or “hunting” as he puts it.

Meanwhile, Ford lives like a true hermit – away from civilization, in an isolated cabin. He spends his days photographing animals, cooks his own dinner, wakes up at 6 in the morning – basically being as boring as he can.

Soon however he meets Kovac, whom he doesn’t remember. That is until Kovac starts to hunt him down on his own soil. Ford, who has a bad knee, now has to use all his skills to survive.

“Killing Season” is really a revenge story that is told using the Bosnian war theme as a background. The film holds only on De Niro and Travolta, as all other actors, including Milo Ventimiglia have minimum to do here.

One would guess De Niro accepted the part of Colonel Ford for a very simple reason – Ford is really what De Niro sees in the mirror every day. The way Ford behaves, the way he lives, the way he treats the members of his own family (his son in particular) – it is all what the real Robert De Niro is like, as described by others. So, basically De Niro doesn’t have to “act” a lot here, except for the action scenes.

Compared to Ford, the character of Emil Kovac with his manly beard, is much more interesting. Travolta seems to have put more effort in playing “the member of Serbian death squad”, who, through his dialogues reveals that despite he wants revenge, he wants peace with himself as well. And without “a confession” from Ford, he cannot get over himself.

As it is revealed later, both men need to overcome an obstacle within themselves, in order to go on with their lives. And because they’ve seen hell that is war up close, they deal with their problems the only way they know how.

Overall, the film is worth a look at least once. De Niro and Travolta share screen time nearly evenly, and there isn’t much going on except for them two playing their characters.

“Killing Season” drags in parts, and there are a few brutal and gory scenes here and there to keep you awake. Occasional jokes from both characters are not as funny as they should’ve been.

If you can overcome the mistakes (regarding the facts about the war), and a couple of pathetic scenes that show Travolta and De Niro being exactly the same in the present day as they were during the war, then “Killing Season” is worth a watch.



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