Hunter: Return to Justice (2002 TV Movie)
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From the opening scene where Lopez may as well have had a toe-tag on him through to the resetting of the story to San Diego and the introduction of the main characters, this film is pretty predictable, join-the-dots stuff where you know basically where it is all going even if you don't know the detail. The reason for this is that the story is so absurd that you probably wouldn't be able to predict it, suffice to say it involves lots of unlikely coincidences and a shady past that it hard to swallow. This doesn't matter too much since really the film is more about Hunter's tough-talking and hard-acting approach to being a cop and how he contrasts with the more liberal approach on the west coast. I watched the series as a kid and it never stuck with me and later movies have only ever been so-so. And that is the case with this one as well as it plods along with a superficially tough air, some action, loads of average plot developments and so on. Those looking for a basic tvm will find just that but it is hard not to see it for what it is.
It doesn't help that the film doesn't want to do much with Hunter's character. He is portrayed as a sort of Dirty Harry cop but the material never takes us beyond that and as such he just does what he does without ever being that engaging as a character here. Dryer wears the role well and this level of stuff suits him but he can't do much more than be tough. Kramer returns to the series by means of a massive narrative shoehorn and it shows on her performance as she doesn't seem comfortable; somehow manages to look no older than when she did the series though, was she frozen? The support cast is also so-so with Lucas being a dull villain and Hennings obvious and unconvincing.
Overall then a pretty average TV cop movie that is predictable and quite dull. The shoe-horning of the characters into place makes the narrative feel clunky. The action keeps it distracting but really this is very basic fare.