The Hunters (2013)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Two of the best genres are adventure and fantasy – or also known as fairytale, so when I see those two genres synonymously tagging the same film, you can bet it’s one I’m going to watch.

The Flynn brothers haven’t had the most normal childhood. Eldest Paxton (Robbie Amell) is about to take a trip around the world on his yacht and then there is Tripp (Keenan Tracey), the troublemaker. He’s been kicked out of boarding schools one too many times and Paxton is tired of cleaning up his brother’s mess. Their parents are rarely around and as archeologists they travel often for their work. Sibling fights are about to be the least of Paxton and Tripp’s worries when mysterious things begin happening – like their parent’s going missing and their mother’s assistant Dylan (Alexa Vega) telling the brothers that their parents are actually Hunters; people who search for and protect ancient, historical artifacts. Now, it’s up to the three of them to uncover the secrets of the Flynn family past and reach mom Jordyn (Michele Forbes) before it’s too late.

Once upon a time, anyone who values family entertainment may remember NBC teaming with Walmart to bring family films to television every so often and that tradition has continued, only now they’ve found a home on Hallmark and already there have been some memorable movies (When Calls the Heart) to come out of the new partnership with an “exclusive” DVD release to WalMart that follows shortly after the airing. This is one of their newest titles and when first seeing the cast (which also includes Victor Garber), I thought it would prove to be a decent albeit predictable diversion but it wasn’t until I read the synopsis that I got all the more curious; the script is decently clever merging both history and contemporary subcultures. There is a lot of respect paid to the artifacts which plays against the cool gadgetry and “sleekness” of the script.

Surprisingly, the movie sets a slow pace and doesn’t really bother to play up its “adventure” aspects. Sure, there is a sense of excitement – a thread that is an undercurrent to the entire film, however it takes its sweet time threading its way through the end game and once we arrive there, there is a feeling of being incomplete. On the plus side, this is easily the sort of movie that lends itself to nothing but a happy ending, so despite the promise of more trouble, it’s a safe speculation to say things turn out well. Writers may have also had hopes of turning this into a film or series franchise which would explain why they didn’t want to be boxed in. Beyond the pace, the story was engrossing and of course, the cast quite good. Amell (Picture Perfect) and Tracey played off each other well as typical brothers and then, naturally Alexa Vega played the love-hate romance up with Amell’s character, something that was cute.

This is really The Hunters in a nutshell. There is some excitement and clever throwbacks to popular fairytales plus as the previous paragraph will attest too, the cast is hip. Locales add atmosphere to each scene and it was nice to watch an adventurous movie in which the “adventure” was more about smarts than force. All that’s left to say is kudos to the studios that are dedicated to putting out family-friendly entertainment that actually knows what that label means – it’s a refreshing thing to watch something without wondering when the next tactless event is coming.

(Parental Concerns: There are a few “intense” moments – a man disintegrates after reciting a chant. Two men are shot, a couple falls off a zip line. There may be a minor innuendo or profanity. The film is rated PG.)


  1. Thanks for reviewing this Rissi!

    This sounds like it would be fun to watch. Maybe I"ll check it out someday.

    1. It IS fun, Ella. Happy watching. :)


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