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Killing Season (2013)

killing season movie poster

Killing Season (2013) – Two veterans of the Bosnian War — one American, one Serbian — find their unlikely friendship turn tense when one of them reveals their true intentions.

project-de-niro-web

As part of my project to watch all the films of Robert De Niro, today’s movie review is for Killing Season, a 2013 action film written by Evan Daugherty and directed by Mark Steven Johnson (Ghostrider, Daredevil).

de niro and travolta

The movie revolves around two Bosnian War veterans. One veteran is an American, Benjamin Ford (Robert De Niro) whose life has become one of being a recluse in the back hills of Appalachia, ignoring his family and struggling with the atrocities he not only witnessed but participated in. The other veteran is a Serbian, Emil Kovac (John Travolta) who narrowly escaped assassination by Ford and the American troops and since the war has been hunting for Ford to make him confess his war crimes and suffer the consequences. Ford and Kovac meet surreptitiously at Ford’s little cabin, and at first exchange food and drink only to have the reality surface of Kovac’s intent to kill Ford. The remainder of the film is a cat-and-mouse game that tests the wills of each survivor, and opens old war wounds whilst showing the effects of war on the human mind.

killing season drink

There is a little baptism sub-plot that involves De Niro’s character Benjamin Ford’s son (Milo Ventimiglia) & his wife (Elizabeth Olin), but primarily this is a two person film. Those two people would have been a huge draw a few years ago (ok, quite a few years ago perhaps), and I still feel the first time match up of De Niro & Travolta is worth watching. As a huge Robert De Niro fan, it was nice to see him in a lead role again. Lets not forget, the man is 70 years old, so a lead role in a decent action thriller is not too shabby. He puts in a good performance, and it’s nice to see him doing something a little more serious than his dialled in bit parts in awful rom-coms from the past few years. Travolta was also on good form, and whilst after looking around online it seems I may be one of the few people to actually like this movie, and their performances, to each their own. I feel both men did a good job and I’d happily watch this again.

killing season travolta

The action is realistic, and I was surprised by how brutal it actually was. Sure, it’s no Saw, but watching De Niro thread a rope through his calf muscle, or Travolta remove something from his face, it was executed very well. It also looked beautiful, the mountain terrain was simply stunning.

killing season de niro

As I mentioned, there doesn’t appear to be many fans of the movie so far, and it has had a lot of criticism aimed at it. A couple of points I’d agree with the general consensus on were that Travolta’s hair and beard were pretty distracting, they looked like they were boot polished on. Also, his accent did keep slipping in places. However, a lot of people seem to feel the events from the war weren’t accurately portrayed here. In terms of the film, I took what they said and let it ride for the purpose of what I was watching. Maybe the makers of the film took some historical liberties, but they wouldn’t be the first people and I’m sure their intentions weren’t to offend people.

In summary, if you’re a fan of De Niro or Travolta then this is more than worthy of your time. Don’t like either of them or action films? Then this film is not for you. Overall it’s a solid cat-and-mouse action film, nothing too taxing and the ending fitted in nicely I felt. In times of superhero movies and remakes, it’s nice to see something a little more basic.

Did-you-know

The project, formerly titled “Shrapnel”, was being considered by John Travolta and Nicolas Cage as a reunion project after Face/Off and by director John McTiernan as a directing vehicle. 

Ratings07

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60 Comments

  1. Good write-up buddy! You I’ll check it out for Bobby but I’m not expecting great things.

    By the way, Raging Bull was on tv last night. Did you watch it? Absolutely outstanding stuff. I don’t why DeNiro always impresses me even more every time I see it. I thought I’d seen it plenty to know how good he was.

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    • Cheers dude, yeah worth it for him, even at 70 he looks good for it 🙂

      No I missed it, but bought the Blu Ray a while back and it is a due a re-watch. Enjoying watching his old stuff, as you say, just so impressive. Gonna watch Once Upon A Time In America soon, after reading your comment at Ruth’s 🙂

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      • Tell me you’ve seen Once Upon a time before, though? Tell me have! Tell you haven’t waited this long to see that?…

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        • Oh yeah of course, I meant you made me want to watch it again!! Never doubt me man, not with Bobby 🙂

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        • My apologies, sir. Don’t know what I was thinking there 😉

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        • Haha, I’ve seen the good ones at least. Just missing the randoms, and his recent comedy crap like that wedding one and New Year’s Eve. Not looking forward to those 😦

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        • Can’t say I’m overly enthusiastic about those myself. Still, a fan is a fan. They must be watched at some point.

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        • Exactly, we have to see them. At least I do, to try and overtake you on this quest to see them all!

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        • You must still be a bit behind, though, are you not? Call yourself a DeNiro fan? 😉

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        • Yeah you’re still way ahead, ill catch you though!! End of this year ill have seen them all. Unless something crazy happens, like a baby to slow me down 😉

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  2. Great write -up my friend, always nice to see something new from you. Not seen the movie yet but have it on the list. However, Travolta’s ‘beard’ may just be *too* distracting!

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    • Thanks mate, hopefully I’ll be writing more frequently now. Hopefully 😉

      It is a strange chin strap beard. Just so black……I mean if its real and I’m doing him a dis-service, then I apologise, but yeah, it looks freaky. Not too off-putting, for me anyway! Hope you like it when you see it (the film, not the beard!) 🙂

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  3. Cool, Tyson…nice review! I’d never even heard of this film, and after a little checking found it opened here in the US in limited release in July, so I guess I missed it! And yes, it is a little odd…very thick and very dark (the beard, not the film!).

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    • Thanks Todd. Yeah it came and went, cinema for a weekend then home video immediately I believe. Shame, you would hope these two could open a movie, but it appears not these days.

      The beard is weird, but then with the wigs and things he has worn in the past, it suits him 🙂

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  4. Nicely done sir! This is actually the second review of this I’ve read today with the exact same score. Looks passable but nowt more than that. Travolta is sporting some immense facial hair though.

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    • Thanks buddy. Imdb is full of 1 star reviews, I thought I may be alone in my generosity. 🙂

      Fantastic facial hair that’s for sure…… Not too distracting anyway, plus it’s a bit more violent than Bobby’s done for a while 🙂

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  5. I’ll look out for this, Tyson. Thanks.

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  6. theipc

     /  August 16, 2013

    HMMM – sounds decent enough. There’s nothing new out to watch tonight so the wife and I are going to go to a bar – wanna join us?

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  7. Sounds like a forgettable rental. Been weary of anything De NIro lately.

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  8. Great review! I can’t wait to see this for I respect DeNiro and Travolta’s talent much.

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  9. Loving Travolta’s beard in those photos. Your review actually makes this one seem worth checking out.

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    • Amazing beard right?! 😉

      Thanks Adam. I mean, don’t expect too much and you might enjoy a simple 90 minute action flick. I did anyway!

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  10. I really like the cast, but I’m not good with graphic violence. I actually can’t watch it, have to hide my face (sometimes Garry will cover my eyes if he knows what’s coming will upset me … isn’t that a great husband?) … but I think I’ll let Garry do this one without me!

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    • I mean its not graphic compared to most things I watch, but there is a bit of blood here. And some water boarding. Garry might like it then he can let you know! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Marilyn 🙂

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  11. I know its going to be bad but I do want to see it 😀

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  12. Good review. Not heard of this. Like De Niro but… Travolta, no. And that hair and beard do look odd!

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    • Thank you! Not a Travolta fan? I really like him, not always in the best films, but for Pulp Fiction he will always be a hero to me 🙂

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      • I suppose he was pretty good in Pulp Fiction. But he just gets on my nerves. My idea of hell would be watching a movie starring Travolta & Tom Cruise. Lol. (Wait.. Has there been one?!)

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        • He was more than pretty good!! And no, they haven’t done one together I’m aware of. Until their big Scientology one they make in the future I imagine 😉

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  13. Good review. Strange I’ve never heard of this movie considering the two big name stars. So, travolta gets shrapnel in his face? Sounds nasty! Haha.

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    • I don’t think it got much in the way of promotion sadly. Seemed to slip under the radar. Not quite shrapnel he gets in his face, something equally as nasty though 🙂

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  14. Tom

     /  September 4, 2013

    well shitters, I guess I need to go DVD-diving for this. I avoided it like the plague since it was getting such bad reviews but this entire time I’ve kept thinking to myself, “It’s Robert f**king DeNiro and John Travolta in a movie together. How bad can it possibly be??” I guess I’ll get to answering that question soon enough. . .

    Good review dude!

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  15. Been wanting to check this out, and I think this was just the push I needed. It better be good now! Haha! 😉

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  16. backlashcomix

     /  September 22, 2013

    I thought this movie was pretty entertaining. I’d definitely agree with you that it’s refreshing to see De Niro playing a part that was a bit more of a challenge than the weak comedies he’s been featuring in lately, and Travolta’s accent wasn’t too bad; I had no idea he was going to be in it and it took me a moment to even notice it was him. So yea, I’d watch it again if I was with someone who hadn’t seen it, which is more than I can say for a lot of the overly long and dull franchise movies I’ve been recommended by the critics over the past few years. Watching some of those again would be a chore.

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  17. As expected from two great actors. A film with lots suspense and thrill.

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  1. Killing season | The Experience

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