Review: 'The Hunter's Prayer' Starring Sam Worthington & Odeya Rush

A couple of Terminator veterans have teamed up for a new action movie that...well, it isn't going to live up to the status of James Cameron's sci-fi classic but it's still worth checking out. Terminator 3 director Jonathan Mostow and Terminator Salvation star Sam Worthington have delivered a solid if incredibly familiar hitman flick in The Hunter's Prayer. While we haven't seen a ton from Mostow lately (his last movie was 2009's Surrogates), Worthington has kept pretty busy as a lower-tier actor, far beneath his station as the main guy of the highest-grossing movie of all-time (Avatar). But The Hunter's Prayer is a reminder that when given the right material and directorial guidance he is a more than capable action lead.

Stop me if you've heard this before: A hitman is hired to kill a young, female target, only to have second thoughts upon seeing her. Instead he becomes her protector against the forces that want her dead. Been there, done that. We've all seen it, but that doesn't mean a solid director can't make something entertaining out of it. Clocking in at a lean 90-minutes, The Hunter's Prayer doesn't waste much time. A girl's parents are quickly killed by a lone assassin, setting off a chain of events that find hired gun Stephen Lucas (Worthington) tracking down their wayward daughter Sarah (Odeya Rush) in Switzerland, just as she comes under fire at a swanky nightclub.

The Hunter's Prayer is essentially a "Hey, don't forget us!" from both Worthington and Mostow, as they show off their best qualities. Mostow still choreographs a thrilling action sequence, with plenty of brutal gun fights, car chases, and brawls throughout Europe. Worthington can still play the tortured hero very well when he wants to, and in this case he has the added burden of Lucas being a heroin addict whose addiction becomes a serious liability to Sarah's safety. His enemies, played by Allen Leech and Amy Landecker in corny villain performances that don't work at all, are quick to capitalize on Lucas' personal demons. Rush, who was last seen in the Goosebumps movie, gives an understated performance, refusing to sensationalize Sarah's fear. Between she and Worthington they don't share much dialogue, so much of their communication is through body language and it works.

The screenplay is sparse but effective, not surprising when you have Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy, The Messenger) as one of the screenwriters, and The Hunter's Prayer moves along at a strong clip. Its biggest drawback is that it isn't terribly creative, as in not really creative at all. While not doing anything special for the hitman genre, it can scratch the right itch if you're looking for a no-frills actioner.
Rating: 3 out of 5