THE HUNTER’S PRAYER — Review by Susan Granger

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When her wealthy parents are murdered in their suburban New York, home, teenage Ella Hatto (Odeya Rush) is thousands of miles away at a posh Swiss boarding school, sneaking out to a trendy nightclub with her boyfriend Sergio, unaware that she’s next on the assassin’s hit list. Continue reading…

But he’s no ordinary killer. Conflicted, conscience-stricken Stephen Lucas (Sam Worthington) has gone rogue. Suffering from PTSD and addicted to heroin, he’s filled with regrets over his military past. So Stephen decides not only to spare Ella’s life but also to track down the other gunmen who have been hired to kill her.

Posing as a bodyguard sent by her family, he explains that there’s a contract out on her as punishment for her father’s financial treachery.

As they travel across Europe, eluding a shadowy so-called friend (Veronica Echegui) and corrupt FBI agent (Amy Landecker), Stephen and Ella get to know one another, establishing an unlikely relationship that’s reminiscent of Luc Besson’s subversive “Leon: The Professional.”

“How do you do it?” Ella inquires. “Kill people.”

By the time they reach the imposing 19th century Yorkshire estate that belongs to malevolent Richard Addison (Allen Leech) and serves as a lavish front for his illegal narcotics distribution, they’ve become a team.

Working from a far-fetched, thinly sketched script by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, based on a 2004 novel “For the Dogs” by Kevin Wignall, resourceful director Jonathan Mostow (“U-571,” “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” “Breakdown”) relies on action, rather than exposition and dialogue, to propel this effective thriller. As a result, brawling fight scenes, careening car-chases and brutal shootouts abound.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Hunter’s Prayer” is a gritty, fast-paced 6, best suited for video-viewing.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.