Review

Sam Worthington gets out-acted by Hungary (the country) in the dumb actioner 'The Hunter's Prayer'

Action movies don’t necessarily need logic, but in the absence of entertainment value, tracking what doesn’t make sense is often the only fun. “The Hunter’s Prayer,” a find-and-kill-them exercise across Europe starring Sam Worthington as a junkie assassin stirred to protecting his assignment, a teenage girl (Odeya Rush), offers a wide array of head-scratchers.

There are the small-bore annoyances — would Rush, stowed in a car trunk, really be able to hear Worthington’s tight-lipped mumbling in the front seat? — to the oldies but goodies (gunmen missing constantly, especially when their target’s right in front of them) and, finally, the disbelief-crushers, like pretty much the entire plot of this dippy time-waster.

Somewhere since 1997’s nail-biter “Breakdown,” director Jonathan Mostow lost his knack for nuts-and-bolts suspense and selling the outlandish. The acting is bad (except for Hungary’s decent job playing Switzerland), but Worthington, ostensibly an old hand by now at cut-rate thrillers, pulls off the ignominious trick of seeming as if he were a bouncer randomly cast in his first movie. His adversary, a vengeful U.K. businessman (Allen Leech) who breeds homicidal dogs on his estate, is introduced as so powerful he owns half of Europe’s police. Too bad getting close to him in the final act — it happens twice — requires less effort than it takes for a disgruntled customer to see a store manager.

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‘The Hunter’s Prayer’

Rating: R for violence, drug use and language

Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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