Two veterans of the Bosnian War - one an American named Benjamin Ford (Robert De Niro), the other a former Serbian soldier, Emil Kovac (John Travolta) - engage in a tense, action-packed cat and mouse game, against the backdrop of America's most forbidding and remote landscape - the Appalachian mountain wilderness.
If you have followed the careers of Robert De Niro and John Travolta you might know that things haven’t been going great for the once oscar worthy performers with a string of poorly received features under their belt in recent years, especially for the latter. Killing Season, a hardened gritter thriller at first seems like the film to change all that but by the end you are left wondering why either of them thought this mildly insensitive, completely illogical film ever got made in the first place, let alone why either of them decided to be in it.
Killing Season follows two veterans of the Bosnian war from both sides of the conflict. Bosnian Emil (John Travolta) has dreamt of revenge against an american soldier for many years and when he finally finds out where he is he heads to America to find him. Benjamin (Robert De Niro) is that man and when the two finally meet they are surprised by the strange connection the two share. However when Benjamin finds out why Emil found him they enter into a game of cat and mouse as Emil tries to find his revenge and Ben tries to stay alive in the woods with no hope of escape.
The film plays into the devastating effects of war in an unconventional way and while Travolta and De Niro put in entertaining performances despite a truly odd and slightly off putting accent by Travolta it never really feels like the two are feeling the effects, more pretending to. Emil is so fixated on this revenge fantasy he lacks any kind of characteristics outside of them and while Ben has family, who are seen briefly, it wouldn’t be surprising if you forgot that fact by the films end.
Once the films main premise kicks in and the two are at each others throats the film loses its hold on reality as these two past their prime men take part in the clumsiest hunting game ever as the two work their way through fumbled attempts to gain the upper hand despite the film promising that they are hardened veterans. In fact not for once is that fact believable and using the tragedy of a conflict to convey and unbelievable point is distasteful the film does a decent job of covering it although there is little here besides a thin story, poorly chosen actors and an ending that fits the end of a straight to TV romance film.
While watching two men reach some kind of conclusion to a event that supposedly haunted them for years to come may seem cathartic and interesting I would suggest skipping this disappointing picture in favour of something with a little more grit and a lot more sense.