Box Office $5.81 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray; Rated ‘R’ for some strong bloody violence and language throughout. Stars Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Glenn Howerton, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Amy Madigan, Reed Birney, Justin Hartley.
While conceived as a political allegory, The Hunt works just fine on its own as a straightforward comedic action thriller.
The film, about a group of wealthy left-wing elites who kidnap conservatives to hunt them for sport, is like a modern version of The Most Dangerous Game, meshed with The Purge and The Hunger Games for good measure.
The film uses misdirection to put the audience in the position of those being hunted, constantly guessing about what is really happening. After a brief opening in which a group of friends jokes about looking forward to “The Manor,” an assortment of people awaken in a forest, their mouths gagged. They discover crates in a clearing filled with weapons and the means to free themselves. But the games begin in earnest with a deliciously bloody body count.
One of them, Crystal (Betty Gilpin of Netflix’s “GLOW”) seems to be a step ahead. She wants to find the ringleader, Athena (Hilary Swank) and put an end to these shenanigans once and for all.
In the primary featurette on the Blu-ray, the five-minute “Crafting The Hunt,” producer and co-writer Damon Lindeloff discusses how the film is meant to satirize how political opponents get locked into assumptions about the other side, threatening to plunge into a never-ending war rather than attempt to get along.
Rounding out the sparse extras on the Blu-ray are two more featurettes running just over two-and-a-half minutes. “Death Scene Breakdowns” is a self-explanatory video about how the filmmakers staged some of the scenes of gory violence. “Athena vs. Crystal: Hunter or Hunted?” details the making of a key fight scene involving Gilpin and Swank.
It’s the tale of a true-blue American hero, one who didn’t have superpowers, but was exceptional nonetheless.
The Last Full Measure, its title echoing the words of Abraham Lincoln about the ultimate sacrifice, is based on the true story of the three-decade effort to have William H. Pitsenbarger recognized for an act of selflessness in the Vietnam War that cost him his life on April 11, 1966.
The film is available now on Digital, and arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD and On Demand April 21 from Lionsgate.
The story follows Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan), who investigates a Congressional Medal of Honor request made by Pitsenbarger’s mission partner and parents to posthumously recognize the U.S. Air Force medic (played in flashback by Jeremy Irvine) who saved more than 60 men before making the ultimate sacrifice in the bloody Vietnam battle Operation Abilene. Huffman interviews Army vets to learn more about Pitsenbarger’s courageous acts — and uncovers a high-level conspiracy behind the medal’s denial.
“We never know in life when we show a random act of kindness or a random act of sacrifice what the effect might be 20, 30 years down the line,” says writer-director Todd Robinson in the extras.
“There’s a lot of remarkable courage out there, but Bill’s story is one at the top,” adds historian William Chivalette.
In addition to Stan, the star-studded ensemble cast includes Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Peter Fonda (in his last big screen performance), Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Bradley Whitford, Ed Harris and Samuel L. Jackson. Plummer and Ladd portray Pitsenbarger’s long-suffering parents, who wait patiently for their son to be properly recognized. Jackson, Hurt, Fonda and Harris play former servicemen who witnessed Pitsenbarger’s heroism and are still haunted by their war experiences.
“This is the struggle that all of our veterans face every day, is finding purpose and reason, and that’s really what the movie is all about,” says writer-director Todd Robinson in the extras. “I wanted to tell a story that transcends the Vietnam War — and frankly transcends war. They had a search for purpose that took 32 years, and in that purpose, came their healing.”
A featurette among the extras explores the film’s original score by composer Philip Klein, who felt the music had to match the heroism of its subject.
“The story deserved an orchestral score. It deserved something big and powerful,” he says in the featurette. “There was this enormous amount of responsibility that we all felt to make this worthy of this man.”
Other extras include interviews with the servicemen who actually witnessed Pitsenbarger’s actions in 1966, awed by his selflessness. Even three decades later, his choice to stay and help the wounded mystifies.
“There’s not a one of us that wouldn’t have left there if we could, and the only guy that could leave was Pitsenbarger, and he didn’t,” comments serviceman Ron Haley in the extras.
Also included in the extras is footage of a screening for veterans of Operation Abilene and Pitsenbarger’s family at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
“Our wish for you is simply that, when you leave here tonight, this picture has cracked the door open just a little wider for communication, that if you are a veteran, you either tell your part of this story or one like it, or that the rest of us might do our part to be good, patient witnesses and listen,” Robinson tells them.
BLU-RAY/DVD/DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
“The Women of The Last Full Measure” Featurette
“Medal of Honor Ceremony Shoot” Featurette
“That Others May Live: Remembering Operation Abilene” Featurette
“USAF Museum Screening with Veterans & Pitsenbarger Family” Featurette
The drama The Last Full Measure will arrive on digital April 7 and Blu-ray (plus digital), DVD and on demand April 21 from Lionsgate.
The film is inspired by the courageous acts of Vietnam War hero William H. Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force medic who personally saved more than 60 men before making the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam’s bloodiest battle. Three decades later, Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman investigates a Congressional Medal of Honor request made by Pitsenbarger’s mission partner and parents. Huffman interviews Army vets to learn more about Pitsenbarger’s courageous acts — and uncovers a high-level conspiracy behind the medal’s denial.
The ensemble cast includes Sebastian Stan (Avengers: Endgame, Captain America: Civil War, I, Tonya), Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer (2011, Actor in a Supporting Role, Beginners), Academy Awardwinner William Hurt (1985, Actor in a Leading Role, Kiss of the Spider Woman), and Academy Award nominee Peter Fonda (1997, Actor in a Leading Role, Ulee’s Gold) in his last big screen performance. The film also stars Academy Award nominee Diane Ladd (1991, Actress in a Supporting Role, Rambling Rose), Academy Award nominee Amy Madigan (1985, Actress in a Supporting Role, Twice in a Lifetime), Golden Globe nominee Bradley Whitford (2001, 2002, 2003 Best Supporting Actor – Television, “The West Wing”), with Academy Award nominee Ed Harris (2002, Actor in a Supporting Role, The Hours), and Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson (1994, Actor in a Supporting Role, Pulp Fiction).