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Have John Travolta and Robert De Niro ever worked together prior to Killing Season? I mean, they’ve each worked with several of the same directors over the years, and frequently dabble in genre exercises such as this, that it feels like a thorough IMDB search of their vast filmographies would turn up a moment where their careers crossed paths in a generically titled thriller like Basic or . Maybe I’m just mashing Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown together into some Tarantino haze of violence and funny accents.
Speaking of, what is this accent that Travolta is doing in this Killing Season trailer, which just dropped on Apple’s page? It’s Serbian, but it has such a lyrical tilt to it that it reminds me a bit of the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon – and THAT was a movie De Niro actually was in! Travolta’s playing a trained Serbian assassin who is released into the woods on a hunt to bring down De Niro’s character, a former soldier who participated in the Bosnian war and now owes a debt for war crimes he likely committed. And he’s doing a funny accent.
Oh wait! That’s it! He’s replicating his turn as Goldmember from the Austin Powers movie! Skip to the 4-minute mark of this YouTube clip:
OK, back to Killing Season. The thriller is directed by Mark Steven Johnson, whose prior credits include Ben Affleck’s Daredevil and Nic Cage’s Ghost Rider. You’re still here? Um, OK. Well, he also directed the heartfelt Simon Birch and a forgettable comedy When In Rome, so this, at least, is a step in a different direction for Johnson. And I’m choosing to believe that De Niro and Travolta saw something in this man-versus-man-versus wild movie to sig on for several weeks of shooting in the woods.
This is the point, I believe, where it should be mentioned that Travolta (59 years of age) and De Niro (69) are quite old to be the leads in a macho manhunt movie. Even in a post-Expendables world, the sight of De Niro being kicked through a door in the name of action cinema is … odd. It takes me out of the sequence, no matter how compelling the plot might be.
Maybe I’ll feel differently when Killing Season plays out in its entirety, and we’ll get to see how that works when the movie drops on July 12. Here’s the film’s official synopsis. Are you interested?
Deep in the Appalachian mountains, a reclusive American military veteran (Robert De Niro) and a European tourist (John Travolta) strike up an unlikely friendship. But when the tourist's true intentions come to light, what follows is a tense battle across some of America’s most forbidding landscape proving the old adage: the purest form of war is one-on-one.”