Christmas Bounty follows Tori, a mild mannered Manhattanite school teacher, getting all cosy with her high society boyfriend. But did you also know she’s secretly a BOUNTY HUNTER?? I mean yes, you probably did guess that from the title… Anyway, she’s contacted by an old enemy who’s out from behind bars and after revenge. Pretty festive, huh. True, this film isn’t much about Christmas… but it is about WWE WRESTLERS! Well, they’re acting. Well, they’re “acting”. God bless Mike “the Miz” Mizanin, who tries his best to pout at the correct cue.
Tori returns to her hometown of New Jersey to fight crime with her bounty hunter parents- unbeknownst to fiancé… I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten his name. I’ve just finished the film and I’ve forgotten his name. Suffice to say, he’s well-meaning but evidently not interesting enough to make an impact. New Jersey is stereotypically a “cheap” kinda place (not my words, any TV program you’ve ever seen’s words) so presumably they got the film budget and then thought “where can we get away with having our cast wear Primark throughout?” which led them here. The low budget nature of the film pops up a couple more times, like fun Easter eggs: keep an eye peeled for cousin Bones’ outfit which is worn in the scene and all of the photos of him, and the very wobbly cardboard-esque warehouse.
The film’s alright: everyone can do various stages of acting, though lead Francia Raisa is actually really good and carries it. She’s got a real Mila Kunis/ Angelina Jolie vibe going on, which they must’ve spotted because in the last scene she’s just dressed in combat gear with braids. I mean, it’s for all the combat they do, but also Tomb Raider was fun wasn’t it? Unfortunately the script doesn’t really back up her talents: my favourite part was when Nameless Fiance exclaims “You are a mysterious woman!” There were five writers on this film. Five. And they still kept that line in. It must have been an all-nighter in the script room. They’re also peddling a weirdly mean moral: the entire time, Tori’s told how her dream is going to Manhattan. At the end, she’s all “nah I like bounty hunting and my ex after all”…so abandon your dreams? I think the writers had forgotten to undo the whole dream of New York. They assume the audience have given up after watching it for this long.
All in all, it’s a fairly interesting flick. The combat scenes, despite jerkily shot, are well choreographed, and the parents do have some funny lines. It’s a shame that after being something a little different, the film does just follow the chick flick template of ditching Nameless Fiance and shacking up with the ex, who’s “changed”. Eh. This is followed by five minutes of Christmas, who didn’t die! Isn’t that nice and lazy.
Rating: Ho/Ho Ho Ho.