Cut to 1980 and Charles Bronson has become one of the world's biggest movie stars thanks to action vehicles from the states and Europe. His bankable days numbered and formerly granite face softening, Death Hunt is a welcome surprise as Bronson would embark on his payday Cannon Films/Death Wish sequel days immediately after. Filmed in and around the beautiful and snowy Canadian Rocky Mountains, Death Hunt was co-produced by Raymond Chow's Golden Harvest, of kung-fu and Bruce Lee flicks then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame. The tale is based on a true story of a trapper who kills a man and then becomes the target of a huge, country wide man hunt in 1931 which of course is highly fictionalized for the big screen. James Bond veteran Director, Editor and 2nd Unit Director Peter Hunt helms a not great but ruggedly entertaining affair with surprising bursts of old school squib violence. The vista of nature, log cabins, muddy towns, fur coats and snow give it a very authentic feel and change of pace from Bronson's usual shitty city or European countryside motifs.
Things go bad and Johnson hits the trails, trekking across the snowy terrain and living off the land with Millen, Sundog and Alvin in pursuit as well as an angry mob of justice seeking townies. Millen, being an old school, crotchety fella who's seen a few things may be tasked with bringing Johnson in but Damme it if he doesn't respect him. He doesn't even think Johnson is guilty of anything and would have acted the same way in the situation. When things aren't going as quickly as HQ wants, The Royal Air Force is called in, thinking technology will win the day. Then we learn that Johnson is an old school badass himself, having served in the Great War working intelligence and secret op stuff. Bronson isn't overly iconic in the role but his calm demeanor and weathered face are more than enough to infuse his portrayal of Johnson as a man looking for peace but unable to stay out of trouble due to jerks and injustice. Marvin is expectedly crusty and salty, the cool asshole who's seen it all. Weathers is fine as the buddy who likes to drink, crack jokes and have fun with the ladies with a little snow on the mountains while Stevens is effective as the coiled up new guy.