Bullet Points: Bounty Tracker
It is not that difficult to imagine a scenario where fans of direct to video action movies were practically shitting themselves when they saw Lorenzo Lamas and Matthias Hues face to face on the cover of 1993’s Bounty Tracker at their local Blockbuster Video…
- Worst Vacation Ever: Lorenzo Lamas plays Johnathan Damone, Boston’s best bounty tracker. After picking up a big bounty in the opening scene of the film, John decides to take some time off and fly out west and visit his brother Paul in Los Angeles. When John arrives in LA he finds his brother’s house being guarded by the LAPD. Paul Damone is one of two key witnesses who are set to testify against a powerful white collar criminal Luis Sarazin (Eugene Robert Glazer). Paul’s business partner had knowingly been helping Sarazin launder money through a dummy corporation and when Paul discovered this he immediately reported it to the authorities. After narrowly escaping being killed by a group of assassins (hired by Sarazin to destroy any and all evidence of the money laundering) at his office, Paul now has police protection 24/7 until Sarazin’s trial… but shortly after John pays Paul a visit, the same group of assassins that showed up at Paul’s office show up at Paul’s home. The four assassins kill all the officers on the protection detail along with Paul and his wife… as you might guess John survives or this would have been a really short movie.
- Karate Cowboy: After the massacre at his brother’s home John speaks to the head detective on the Sarazin case, Detective Ralston (Whip Hubley of Top Gun fame). Ralston informs John that the police believe a man named Erik Gauss (Matthias Hues) is responsible for the death of John’s brother and several other unsolved murders, but to date the police have been unable to bring Gauss to justice. John offers his services, because tracking people down and bringing them to justice is what he does, but Ralston quickly puts the kibosh on that idea and tells John he does not want him going all karate cowboy in Los Angeles. So you know what that means… John proceeds to go all karate cowboy in Los Angeles. John checks the local tattoo parlor to ask about the tattoo he saw the assassins sporting. This leads him to an old colleague of Gauss’ Alberto Manuel (Judd Omen of Red Dawn fame) who tells John about the dojo that Gauss trained at. That information leads to a Scene of the Week worthy fight when John pays a visit to the dojo and basically takes on the entire class on his own before tangling with the sensei. Gauss has caught wind of John’s activities and sends the sexy and deadly Jewels (Cyndi Pass of The Force fame) to eliminate his John Damone problem. Jewels follows John to his hotel after he leaves the dojo and this leads to a short but sweet hotel room shootout between the two.
- Rampage: After Jewels fails at taking out John Damone, Gauss goes on a rampage. First Gauss finds his “old friend” Alberto Manuel and stabs him to death for talking to John. From there Gauss and his team of assassins track down the second witness in the Sarazin case and it is another massacre scene. With all the evidence destroyed and all the witnesses dead, it appears the bad guys are going to come out on top. But John Damone ends up getting some unexpected help from some teenagers that Alberto Manual was helping get off the streets and on the right path in life. Tony, Tiny and an unnamed third teenager want to avenge the death of their mentor, so they team up with John Damone to make sure that the good guys come out on top as the action movie gods intended. This was an unexpected plot twist, but as long as it meant a John Damone vs. Erik Gauss final showdown, I could overlook how illogical it was that a bunch of former gang bangers were going to match up against trained professional assassins.
The final John Damone and Erik Gauss showdown does take place, in a junkyard setting no less, and it proved to be worth the wait and lived up to the hype I had been building up in my mind since I first laid eyes on that cover with Lorenzo and Matthias staring each other down.
Bounty Tracker was another great example of the type of quality actioners that Lorenzo Lamas was putting out in the 90’s. The dojo fight and the final showdown were easily the action highlights of the movie but it was the performances of Lorenzo Lamas and Matthias Hues that really made this one work.
I may not be the best bounty tracker in the business like John Damone, but I’ve managed to track down a few Bonus Bullet Points for you…
- Two Questions: Why does Lorenzo Lamas have a pair of nunchaku on this alternate Bounty Tracker cover? He did not use nunchaku in the movie. Also where is Matthias Hues on this cover? I’m all for including some Cyndi Pass eye candy, but I think they still could have included Matthias along with Cyndi.
- AKA: Bounty Tracker was released as Head Hunter in both Hungary and Germany.
- Familiar Faces: Tiny was played by George Perez. You may recognize Perez as the AC Slater wannabe from Toy Soldiers… Leo Lee played Kuto, the sensei of the dojo that Eric Gauss trained at. Action fans will recognize Leo Lee from his work in The Perfect Weapon, Martial Law II: Undercover and Double Impact.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Lorenzo Lamas wear a bow tie and speak with an English accent, then this is the movie for you.