A bog-standard plot and an underutilized star are smaller problems for The Tracker than the overall lack of interest it emanates in every department.
Dolph Lundgren is one of the few actors whose acting roles are more realistic than their real lives. His new film The Tracker, by long-time low-budget action director Giorgio Serafini, casts him as Aiden Hakansson, a family man whose wife and daughter are kidnapped on vacation in Southern Italy, and who, years later, finds himself embroiled in the case again, eager for answers and revenge. He’s a still a big, comically handsome man, still in great shape and with thicker hair than me, but he’s less impressive than the real Dolph, with his multiple degrees, martial arts championships, modeling careers and still-going-strong late-period acting resurgences.
And that’s a bit of a problem because Dolph doesn’t deal with nuance and internal trauma very well. There’s a scene very early on in The Tracker in which he’s told that his family has been killed, and his crying is, frankly, embarrassing. There’s a reason that certain actors get pigeonholed into certain types of roles and genres, and while it’s limiting, it shouldn’t always be taken as an insult. Dolph is really good at playing a stoic tough guy. He’s not really good at playing a human being.
There’s another early scene — the very first in fact — that Dolph narrates, and the silly wooden dialogue explains the difference between a tracker and a hunter. It suggests a more philosophical, introspective film than this one ends up being. The Tracker isn’t bad; it isn’t the kind of brainless actioner you might be expecting given the cover and the marketing, though it’s hardly smart either. But it has a horrible problem in that it feels oddly lackadaisical in all aspects, as though nobody involved — from the cast to the writers to the production crew — could really be bothered making it.
Because of that odd feeling of deflation, it’s very difficult getting invested in The Tracker, caring about any of its characters or the development of its tried-and-true revenge plot. Serafini has a fascination with revenge as a theme, and he’s exercising well-honed muscles here, to very little effect. Tracking this down would probably be a mistake.