If you have ever wanted to watch Sam Elliott in a knife-fight with Bigfoot, then The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot has got you covered. Sadly, it brings little else to the table other than a long, meandering story of a lonely old man with a “particular set of skills” (Shush, Brian Mills. Nobody gets kidnapped in this film.) who has little in the way of contact with the outside world other than with his bartender and his younger brother.
Told partly in flashback, we swiftly learn that Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott – Tombstone, Ghost Rider, We Were Soldiers) was once a highly skilled and regarded soldier (the younger Barr is played by Aidan Turner – Poldark, The Hobbit, Being Human), now living alone with only his dog for company until one night an agent from the FBI (Ron Livingston – Office Space, Swingers, The Conjuring) and an official from the Canadian government appear on his doorstep and ask him to come out of retirement and kill Bigfoot. This pronouncement is greeted with a surprising degree of aplomb. Not a single “Are you kidding me?” is uttered: the reveal of Bigfoot’s existence is simply accepted as truth. This really does beg the question of what the hell Barr has seen in his military career that he accepts this without so much as a raised eyebrow.
The setup, the opening sequence, the core concept… everything about this suggests that this film would have been far better handled by someone like Tarantino, who would have injected that particular retro/grindhouse flair of his. Robert Rodriguez, even, could have done a better job with this. The story of a soldier who not only successfully made his way behind enemy lines to assassinate Hitler but who is tasked with hunting down the legendary Bigfoot? The concept is certainly an interesting one, but instead we are left with a surprisingly pedestrian film likely to leave an audience with more questions than answers.
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The plot meanders along in no particular hurry to get anywhere, plot threads are started but never really seem to go anywhere or add anything to the overall story. What is in the box under Barr’s bed? What was the point of that scene with the scratchcard? How long was he away for hunting Bigfoot and why on earth did his brother think he was dead?
The acting in this film is fine. Just fine. Sam Elliott is always a pleasure to watch but really there’s little to be said about his character here. Other than his outburst about the killing of Hitler he remains something of a cipher, just another lonely old man lost in his memories, even if his memories are perhaps somewhat more interesting than some. The subplot of his romance with Maxine is ultimately unfulfilling, ending off screen and summed up with only a comment from another character on how things ended.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot is the directorial debut of Robert D. Krzykowski who previously served as producer on The Woman and Carolina Low. It is, unfortunately, a squandered opportunity. There is almost no action, little in the way of tension, no real attempt made to delve into the life or feelings of a man who is supposed to have killed the most hated human being in history as well as a creature of actual living legend.
The quote from the trailer runs: “My grandfather used to tell me stories all about this one soldier. As he got older, the stories got stranger. Some I believe, others… I dunno. But he wasn’t describing a man, it was more like something mythic. Legendary.”
None of that magic is to be found in this film. Frankly, if you want to see a good story about killing Hitler, your time would be better served by going back and watching Tarantino’s still excellent Inglorious Basterds.