Death Hunt

1981

Death Hunt

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

17%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 6

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,648
User image

Death Hunt Photos

Movie Info

Set in the '30s, Mountie Millen (Lee Marvin) is assigned to track down accused murderer Johnson (Charles Bronson), who has escaped in the high passes of the Canadian Rockies. Johnson, a trapper, has extensive knowledge of wilderness living, but Millen has the resources of the Canadian police at his beck and call.

Cast

Critic Reviews for Death Hunt

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Death Hunt

  • Jul 17, 2009
    <i>"If anyone's going to bring in Albert Johnson, it's going to be me - not some bounty hunter or some flyboy buckin' for promotion."</i> <p> Loosely based on a true story of a manhunt that took place in Depression-era Canada, <i>Death Hunt</i> denotes the ambitious re-teaming of two of cinema's most manly actors - Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin (they previously appeared together in <i>The Dirty Dozen</i>). Fans of these respective actors as well as action enthusiasts in general will discover plenty to like about this nail-biting action-adventure, which is essentially a Western transplanted into an icy Canadian backdrop with the undertones of a morality play. <p> The story takes place in the remote snowy wilderness of Yukon Territory (Canada) in 1931. A grizzled loner named Albert Johnson (Bronson) is attacked by a group of hillbillies, and in self-defence Johnson manages to kill one of them. Infuriated, these hillbillies accuse Johnson of murder. Sergeant Edgar Millen (Marvin) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police suspects that Johnson's actions were out of self-defence, but is compelled to pursue the accused murderer regardless. While Sergeant Millen has his experience and the resources of the RCMP on his side, Johnson has the skills, endurance and experience of mountain living to elude his pursuers. To make things more complicated, the local hillbillies place a sizeable bounty on Johnson's head. <p> Johnson and Millen are worthy adversaries who clearly possess no animosity towards one another - Millen is carrying out his duties in accordance with his job, and Johnson just wants to stay alive and be left alone. In real-life, it wasn't clear whether Johnson was actually guilty. In this motion picture adaptation, however, he was unmistakably the victim of false charges. Perhaps it'd make for more riveting viewing if the film's standpoint on Johnson was ambiguous instead. <p> Usually in '80s action films of this ilk, set-ups are shortened in order to dive into the nitty gritty as quickly as possible. <i>Death Hunt</i> is different - the premise is established at a relaxed pace, which allows for a decent amount of character development before things kick into high gear. <p> Rest assured that once the premise is instituted, the chase that ensues is thrilling and the body count is substantial. As the film progresses, Johnson constantly manages to outmanoeuvre Millen's men as they attempt to catch him, albeit just barely in some instances. He also makes mincemeat out of the hicks who are hunting him (who are interested in collecting the bounty on the man's head). Ironically, Johnson's pursuers perceive their hunt for him as the titular "death hunt", but at the end of the day it is their own deaths that make it a death hunt. <p> As a retelling of the story of the real Albert Johnson, <i>Death Hunt</i> fails since the screenwriters took a number of liberties with the facts in order to create a more romanticised tale. But as a gritty '80s action-adventure, <i>Death Hunt</i> works - it's an excellent slice of manly entertainment. The photography of the forbidding icy landscape is breathtaking and atmospheric. And with Peter Hunt at the helm (a veteran of the early James Bond movies as both an editor and a director), there are a bunch of well-handled action sequences to behold, although the film does suffer from being choppy and disjointed from time to time. <p> On some levels <i>Death Hunt</i> does falter. It feels a tad underdone, and needed more depth since a lot of the characters are hollow stereotypes. A bunch of typical '80s conventions are occasionally used as well. For instance during a few of the shootouts Johnson stands still and is out in the open, but his opponents never manage to hit him (whereas Johnson manages to fire a number of well-aimed shots). Taking these credibility issues further, Millen's men use a cluster of dynamite to blow up Johnson's cabin. An enormous explosion is the result, but Johnson (who is inside his cabin at the time) emerges totally unscathed. <p> At its core, <i>Death Hunt</i> is an acting duel between Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin (although they only engage in one dialogue scene together). Both of these actors were clearly aging by the early '80s, but they bring incredible conviction to their respective roles. Bronson employs his distinctive quiet fortitude while Marvin offers a rugged disposition. This is a fine vehicle for these two badass leads.<br> Angie Dickinson briefly appears as the love interest for Marvin's Sergeant Millen. The brief scenes between these two performers begin to effectively flesh out the character of Millen, showing a sad adherence to duty that he's unable to drop. <i>Death Hunt</i> marked the final cinematic pairing of Dickinson and Marvin (the two other films being <i>The Killers</i> and <i>Point Blank</i>). <p> With a manly cast (boasting such names as Bronson, Marvin, Carl Weathers and Ed Lauter), an engaging narrative and picturesque locations, <i>Death Hunt</i> is an essential '80s actioner. A few faults aside, this tense flick is solid entertainment from start to finish. <p> <center><i>"We've been hunting a man who knows how to live off the land and use it to reign."</i></center>
    Cal ( Super Reviewer
  • Dec 03, 2008
    Bronson against a mob of men. I feel like this is recurring theme in his films. This film in particular has then going after him, still not too different. This is a good movie though. Lee Marvin and his gang of local toughs and deputies and well fleshed out. What's cool also about this film is that it's sort of in two parts. One where Bronson is protecting himself in his house, and the last part where he is running away from the group after him. It's a solid action, with some great moments.
    Patrick D Super Reviewer
  • Jan 17, 2008
    Great face off film that I'm seeing on TV more and more nowadays. Awesome!
    Christopher B Super Reviewer

Death Hunt Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features