2/13/2019

Review: 'The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot', Sam Elliott Is A Remorseful Action Hero


The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot is not the movie you're expecting. With a title like that, you'd assume a crazy, B-movie cheese-fest with cheap/awesome special effects to match a ridiculous tone. But that's not what you're going to get; rather the film by Robert D. Krzykowski is a somber, reflective drama about a man who has lived one Hell of an interesting life. While that may not be what most people are going to show up for, they'll at least get another incredible performance by the great Sam Elliott, in a role that pays tribute to his man-of-action movie career.

So what does a hero do when all the heroing is done? That seems to be the question posed in the contemplative first-half of the story. Elliott plays Calvin, a classic WWII hero, the sort of all-around soldier they would base comic book characters from. Now a much-older man, Calvin lives a Yoda-like existence, with his home a personal fortress of solitude. He has his dog, his pills he takes every day, and his couch. He takes the occasional stroll through the neighborhood, occasionally stopping to get a haircut at the barbershop, but Calvin seems to want for nothing. But behind those eyes is a lifetime of regret and pain, which we see repeatedly through copious use of flashback.

Krzykowski seamlessly melds the contemporary Calvin with looks at his younger, more wiry self (played by Aidan Turner), and the decisions that would cause him so much pain later on. Of course there's a love that got away, played by Caitlin Fitzgerald, and their all-too-brief scenes together are captured with Capra-esque earnestness. The most convincing moments by far come as Calvin stealthily invades the Third Reich, piecing together gadgets out of nothing like a WWII-era James Bond. This stuff is so cool that you wish there were more of it, but Krzykowski is telling a different story.

It's nearly a full hour before there's any mention of the Bigfoot, as an older Calvin is called out of retirement by the American and Canadien governments to kill the beast. The fight that ensues is more like what the title teases, a campy but brutal slugfest with Elliott battling some guy in a cheap rubber monster suit. It'll bring a big smile to your face, but only lasts a handful of minutes before the mournful stuff kicks back in.

Not that any of The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot is necessarily bad. Elliott is every bit the rugged pro we know him to be, saying more with his eyes than most actors can with a 10-minute diatribe. And it's genuinely good to see him in another leading role, one that has echoes of the remorseful actor he played a couple of years ago in The Hero. There can never be enough of Sam Elliott, but if he's going to off both Hitler and the Bigfoot in the same movie he should have more fun doing it.

Rating: 3 out of 5