With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense to distract the audience from the implausible premise. Frankly, the screenwriter might have got away with it if he had avoided the temptation to indulge in some wacky bunny-boiler plotting. But Michael Douglas and Jeremy Irvine throw themselves into the situation in a way that's both gripping and entertaining.
In rural New Mexico, local orphan Ben (Irvine) has found happiness with his girlfriend Laina (Hanna Mangan Lawrence). Then she heads to Denver for university, so he throws himself into his job as a tracker working with the local small-town sheriff (Ronny Cox). His next job is to escort the cocky billionaire John (Douglas) out to the reach to hunt bighorn. But once the two men are in the wilderness, an unexpected incident reveals John's willingness to ignore the law. And now he needs to silence Ben. So John sends Ben into the desert wearing just his underpants, following him to make sure he dies unsuspiciously in the cruel sunshine. But he of course underestimates Ben's experience and resourcefulness.
The cat-and-mouse story holds the interest due to the actors, because it's never remotely believable that John's fancy jeep could keep up with the fleet-footed Ben through all of these rock-strewn mountains and ravines. And there's never even the slightest explanation for John's sudden burst of sadism. But never mind, Douglas sells the character through sheer charisma, swaggering across the Wild West like a man who has never lost at anything and doesn't intend to now. Meanwhile, Irvine throws himself into a physically demanding role that has some surprising emotional resonance. His moral dilemma is palpable, as his integrity wobbles in the face of a fistful of cash. Together, they make a terrific odd couple, with their constant distrusting glances and bald-faced bravado.
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