Inspired, rather than based, on the life of bounty hunter Domino Harvey, this exercise in monumentally brain-dead excess sees Keira Knightley in the title role. The daughter of Manchurian Candidate star Laurence Harvey, she rebels against the posh Beverly Hills life of her mother (Jacqueline Bisset) to become the bounty hunting partner of Mickey Rourke and Edgar Ramirez, working for Delroy Lindo. Christopher Walken is the TV producer who designs a reality show around the trio and two …ormer Beverly Hills 90210 stars, and then everything gets insanely complicated when our heroes are sent to nab the wrong guys, who happen to be mob-connected.
Director Tony Scott has been flirting with self-parody for some time, but here he takes the big plunge. Michael Bay and Oliver Stone at their most stylistically excessive don’t approach the seizure-inducing madness on display here. I had never before seen a movie that is cut faster than its trailer. Then again, I had never before seen a goldfish overact before, but now I have witnessed both these sights, and can die happy. The plot is a loud, fragmented, incomprehensible, yet somehow pretentious, mess. Knightley is no more believable as a bounty hunter than Tara Reid is as a sniper (The Crow: Wicked Prayer), and for all her supposed ‘tude, her character only has a couple of action scenes (one of which, involving dual-wielding assault rifles, is hilarious in its improbability). Connoisseurs of the entertainingly horrendous can look forward to a feast of Rabelaisian proportions.
The big options here are 5.1 EX and 6.1 DTS ES. Both are fine, but my preference lies with the former. Its volume level is noticeably higher, and is overall far more expansive. Here, as with the picture (see below), excess is the watchword. In fact, “excess” is a sad understatement. The music blasts away on all sides, and the sound design is just wild, with sound effects and reiterated dialogue rotating through the speakers. Do not listen to this on drugs.
My eyes!!!! It burns!!!! And that’s a good thing, at least insofar as the transfer is concerned. Tony Scott and DP Dan Mindel clearly need to get back on their meds, but the DVD release perfectly captures their madness for future generations. The colours are shriekingly bright, with greens and yellows never before seen outside the atmosphere of Jupiter dominating. The image is razor-sharp, the contrasts are to die for, and the only time grain is visible, it’s deliberate. A first-rate job of capturing the completely ridiculous.
Someday, this film will get the Showgirls treatment, celebrating its glorious badness. In the meantime, there are two commentary tracks. One by Tony Scott and (recorded separately) screenwriter Richard Kelly. Both men are articulate, and proud of their work. (Kelly keeps talking about Scott’s “punk rock” sensibility. Looks more like acid house to me.) The second track is rather different: script notes, recordings of story development meetings and the like with Scott, Kelly, exec-producer Zach Schiff-Abrams and Tom Waits. Scott also provides optional commentary for the seven alternate/deleted scenes. There are two featurettes; “Bounty Hunting on Acid: Tony Scott’s Visual Style” is self-explanatory. “‘I Am a Bounty Hunter’: The Life of Domino Harvey” is basically a making-of featurette with a biographical slant, but it also comes with an alternate track consisting of Harvey being interviewed by Kelly. All of this is rather poignant, given her death. Finally, along with DVD-ROM content, there’s the teaser, the theatrical trailer, and a never-ending parade of other trailers and ads. The menu’s main screen, intro and transitions are aggressively animated and scored, while the secondary screens are scored.
This is a very, very, very bad film. You should see it without delay.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Deleted/Alternate Scenes with Optional Commentary
- “‘I Am a Bounty Hunter’: The Life of Domino Harvey” Featurette
- “Bounty Hunting on Acid: Tony Scott’s Visual Style” Featurette