Once upon a time, Benjamin Ford was a decorated US Army officer who fought in the war in Bosnia. Now retired, Ford spends his most of his days isolated in a Smokey Mountain cabin hunting and fishing. When a mysterious Bosnian expatriate named Kovac appears in the wilderness, Ford befriends who he thinks is a fellow hunter. However, their first expedition together reveals that Kovac actually has a score to settle with Ford. As the two begin a cat-and-mouse game through the mountain landscape, the Killing Season truly begins.

Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil) directs Killing Season – once known as Shrapnel – from a script by Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman). The film stars Robert DeNiro (Last Vegas) and John Travolta (Savages) as Ford and Kovac, respectively.

The first preview for Killing Season doesn’t exactly stir the senses. Despite the image of Travolta’s mighty chin-strap beard and his somewhat silly attempt at an Eastern European accent, there’s not much that’s novel in the trailer. There’s a dour familiarity to the proceedings that dampens any interest in the film’s concept. That we’re seeing this first footage only a month before the film’s release only compounds matters.

All that said, the official synopsis of Killing Season does seem to indicate that there are more cerebral sections of the film that call into question the nature of Ford and Kovac’s conflict. Also, DeNiro and Travolta can be great fun when they really chew the scenery – let’s hope that Killing Season isn’t as self-serious as its trailer and can provide a suspenseful, compelling final product.

Killing Season will stalk theatergoers on July 12, 2013.