Color, 1989, 82m.
Directed by Arizal
Starring Christopher Mitchum, Bill "Super Foot" Wallace, Mike Abbott, Ida Iasha, Roy Marten, Peter O'Brian OMG Entertainmnent (DVD) (Holland R2 PAL)
Anyone whose mind was blown by the 2015 DVD release of the jaw-dropping Indonesian action film Final Score was left clamoring for more, and though it took almost three years, prayers have been answered with another collaboration from the same director and stars. Mostly sent to home video around the world in Europe and Asia, Lethal Hunter (also known as American Hunter) finds director Arizal putting star Christopher Mitchum through another feature-length round of extreme action sequences, in this case what amounts to basically one action-packed chase running for the entire film.
A valuable microfilm that could collapse Wall Street and the world financial market is at the center of a violent office attack, which then leads to a brief car crash casualty. Now the microfilm is up for sale by a mercenary operative (O'Brian) to the highest bidder, which finds American cop Jake Carver (Mitchum) offering two million against a five million offer from the nefarious animal collector and terrorist supplier Adam (Wallace). Early on he also saves the life of pretty Janet (Iasha), who tags along for part of the adventure before she gets kidnapped. Exactly what's in the microfilm is of zero importance since this is really an excuse for a nonstop barrage of car chases, bodies flying through glass, flaming trucks, massive building destruction, helicopters, machine guns, back flips, dubbing, fruit stand abuse, karate, straight razor interrogations, and dirt bikes. In other words, it's nuts.
Almost indescribably entertaining, Lethal Hunter has so many highlights is almost impossible to pick a favorite. However, top acting honors may actually go to Mike Abbott, one of several Final Score alumni here and a brawny joy here as the obligatory evil henchman who gets to spit out some absurd dialogue and knock around everyone in sight. The stunt work for Mitchum is also surprisingly good, with the actor performing some extreme physical activity himself (including a pretty rough bathroom fight) and a very convincing double used for some of the more outrageous moments. What else can you say about a film that features a Jeep crashing into the top floor of an office building less than a minute into its running time?
Never given an official release in the U.S., Lethal Hunter finally comes to DVD as a crowdfunded release from OMG Entertainment in collaboration with Camera Obscura, once again shepherded by the fine folks at the podcast The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema. Like Final Score, it's a perfect party disc with something happening every single second to keep you interested and a great way to make the acquaintance of a film previously available mostly in bad VHS-sourced dupes. The analog master used here is full frame (open matte by the looks of it) and obviously dated, though this is reportedly as good as it'll get. The film has some weird affectations like occasional quick bits of slow motion for no reason, as well as an occasional repeated frame or two that may be baked into the original master. The Dolby Digital English track sounds okay given the source, with optional Dutch or English subtitles provided. Once again you get a spirited audio commentary by GGTMC's Big Willy and The Samurai (this time credited on the menu as "Sam U. Rai and Large William" and on the packaging as William Smith and Rick Peach), who have a great time dissecting the action scenes, singing the praises of Mitchum and Arizal, and exploring the tropes of Indonesian action cinema and Members Only jackets. Incredibly, you also get a new video interview with Abbott himself (15m.) -- and it's really odd to hear his real voice as he chats about his global work trip that led him from Europe to America to Indonesia, getting his acting gigs due to his look and offering a career choice after gigs as a bartender. He also talks about Mitchum quite a bit and his extensive script rewriting, which often clarified the wild plots. On the other hand, he wasn't exactly a fan of Wallace. Liner notes by Zachary Kelley are also included with a further exploration of the charms of Chris Mitchum cinema and his subsequent political career.