Mysteries abound in David Raymond’s “Night Hunter,” perhaps none so pressing as how Stanley Tucci and Ben Kingsley were prevailed upon to join its flailing cast. Yet these household names (both condescending to their roles as, respectively, a police commissioner and a former judge) aren’t the only victims of this psycho-killer disaster: There’s also a casually expendable Nathan Fillion and a cinematographer, Michael Barrett, whose crisply chilling images deserve a worthier project.
Juggling three equally incoherent plotlines, a stony Henry Cavill (abandoning the Superman suit) plays Marshall, a divorced Minnesota detective who veers from lecturing his teenage daughter about online safety to leaving guns and crime-scene photographs in full view. Stupid law-enforcement behavior is endemic here, as Marshall’s colleague brings his new baby to work every day and is shocked when a suspect snatches it. Then there’s the young profiler (Alexandra Daddario) who learns that uncuffing a raving lunatic who kept a bunker stocked with kidnapped women (Brendan Fletcher, practically foaming at the mouth) might not have been her smartest move.
Elsewhere, Kingsley’s jurist and a young accomplice are staging honey traps for pedophiles before rearranging their testicles and cleaning out their bank accounts. What motivates this vigilantism is anyone’s guess: back stories are not Raymond’s forte, at least on the evidence of this witless first feature. Caught between a hero with no personality and a villain with way too much (Fletcher’s slobbering performance has to be seen to be believed), Raymond comforts himself with shots of people gazing pensively at clues and pulling grisly things from drains.
“The people I chase,” Marshall tells his daughter, “They live in the dark.” Unfortunately, the audience will be right there with them.
Rated R for unsavory themes and uncontrolled urination. Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes.
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