The Hunting Party opens with the cheeky statement that only the most ridiculous events depicted in the film are true. It closes with slyer self-acknowledgment of artistic license, pointing out the facts it got wrong. (It tells us that the true story was about five journalists, not three, for instance.) None of this would matter if the film were entertaining; in fact, it would be funny. But the movie, based on an Esquire article about a group of reporters who sneaked into Bosnia to catch the nation’s most notorious war criminal, goes so overboard with printing the legend that barely a note of it is feasible. Writer-director Richard Shepard (The Matador) goes through the motions with perfunctory flatness, relying on action-film stereotypes (How do you know a guy is bad? He has a scar on his face!), giving his characters all the right things to say, using ludicrous contrivances to elude killers and employing an audience-demeaning voice-over narration. With all that said, the acting is stellar, as expected from Richard Gere, Terrence Howard and the underutilized Jesse Eisenberg, and the film is not without its tense moments.
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