Summer Love, aka Dead Man’s Bounty: A Review by Nate Hill

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Ever wish there was a movie where Val Kilmer plays a dead corpse? Like…the whole movie? Well you’re in luck, because in Summer Love he does just that. It’s funny because there aren’t even any flashbacks, any death scene or any instances where he’s alive. He’s just a dead body for the whole. friggin. movie. Now you might think what an lazy, pay cheque collecting half ass move, but let me assure you that shit isn’t easy. I’ve played a corpse in films for maybe minutes at a time after I’ve bee killed, and that was bad enough. Thinking about having to lie still and do that for an entire film gives me hives. So kudos to Val who sticks through it like a champ, spending every frame all rigor mortis-ed up and dead as disco. The film was released in North America unde the dvd title ‘Dead Man’s Bounty’ a decidedly more genre title than Summer Love, which is all part of an effort to label it as a violent action western. It’s It’s a western, alright and it’s plenty violent. But action? No sir. It’s slower than the service I get at McDonald’s and very, very European. Most of the actors besides Kilmer are Polish, kind of like Eastwood waltzing around with a bunch of Italians in a spaghetti western. I guess the term for this one would be perogy western. The lead actor is actually Czech, the ever awesome Karel Roden, playing a perpetually wounded and apparantly mute gunslinger who arrives in a dinghole of a town with Kilmer’s body, looking to collect his bounty. The town is a sour, miserable, derelict place, populated by bad tempered, booze gulping men, and one much abused whore (Katarzyna Figura). The sheriff (Boguslaw Linda) is a stumbling, incapable drunkard whose first thought is to rob anyone who passes through his town. Roden silently navigates this cesspool outpost, keeping Kilmer near and his guns at the ready. Not much actually happens in the film, mostly everyone just sits around drinking and mumbling incoherently to themselves in tones that no doubt sound poetic to their heavily inebriated minds. The whore gets slapped around a whole lot which will no doubt put some viewers off, if they aren’t already asleep. The ‘Summer Love’ title comes from the chorus of a song which is played in an opening sequence that proves to be one of the few sparks of life in this fairly dead affair. Kilmer’s trademark peppiness is nowhere to be found because… well… he’s a dead guy, and the rest of the cast are basically drunk western zombies who have all lost their scripts. Morbidly fascinating, never enjoyable, startlingly bad.

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