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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14%
Worth A Look: 4%
Average: 24%
Pretty Bad: 18%
Total Crap40%

3 reviews, 32 user ratings

Hunted, The (2003)
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by EricDSnider

"Ah, yes. Stabbing."
3 stars

There is a lot of stabbing in "The Hunted." I think it may be the stabbingest movie I've ever seen. If the film were called "Stabby McStabberton, the Guy Who Stabs People," I doubt it would have any more stabbing than it already does.

But I am being petty. Let's not forget that, issues of stabbing aside, "The Hunted" is also noteworthy for being a very mediocre film!

Tragically, it was directed by William Friedkin, who gave us "The French Connection" (1971) and "The Exorcist" (1973). The 30 years between then and now have apparently deadened his senses to what makes a film visually exciting, and to what makes a story compelling. "The Hunted" is grossly insignificant, and unworthy of the man who once had genius in him.

Eh, but it was written by David and Peter Griffiths, the brothers who wrote last year's stupid Schwarzenegger vehicle "Collateral Damage." So what can you do?

Anyway, Tommy Lee Jones and his eyebrow play L.T. Bonham, a tracker and wildlife preservationist who once contracted for the government to teach soldiers how to kill people in hand-to-hand combat. He's so good at tracking, he knows which friend has come to visit just by looking at his footprints in the snow, and he spends his days in remote British Columbia, helping animals who have been caught in traps, rescuing kittens from trees, that sort of thing. He is officially retired from tracking people.

In time-honored movie fashion, though, he is brought out of retirement when a former colleague arrives bearing gruesome photos of a madman's handiwork. The madman, Aaron Hallam (Benicio Del Toro), was trained to kill by Bonham himself. Having been traumatized in Kosovo, where he was an assassin for our side, he has now begun killing hunters in the woods outside Portland, Ore. (If you've ever been to Portland, you know the locals love their greenery and do not take kindly to shellshocked veterans stalking through it, murdering at will.) Bonham, naturally, is the ONLY MAN! who can track him and find him.

Predictably, it becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse, with Hallam regularly escaping capture as Bonham chases him through the woods and through downtown Portland itself. I am somewhat intrigued by the clever use of the city as a venue for pursuit, as Hallam uses public transportation, traffic and bridges to evade Bonham, but that only lasts for so long before it's the standard one-guy-running-after-another routine again.

Below the surface, there are only hints and innuendoes of complexity. The film observes that the military creates killing machines like Hallam, but says nothing about it. Even "First Blood" (1982), which was far from deep but had the exact same plot, gave Sylvester Stallone a monologue in which to express his frustration at having been made into a monster by his government.

Jones is his typical dogged self, relentlessly pursuing his quarry and not caring if he himself lives or dies. For reasons I cannot comprehend, Friedkin allows Jones to be shot frequently in close-up, I guess so we can see all the crags, wrinkles and misplaced hairs 20 feet high. Del Toro, for his part, is expressionless and feeble, hardly the cold, calculating killer the film wants him to be.

There is a good story somewhere in all this, with the men who are part human, part animal chasing each other through a city that is part civilization, part forest. But even symbolism as simple as that escapes this gratuitously gory, uninteresting film.

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originally posted: 03/18/03 17:56:57
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell good action thats it 2 stars
4/16/14 Charles Tatum Violent, by-the-numbers actioner 3 stars
8/05/13 mr.mike Read Ebert's review. I agree with it 4 stars
11/02/12 Monday Morning All action, no story worth caring about. 2 stars
8/19/09 Jeff Wilder Good knife fight scenes. But weak script. 2 stars
11/11/05 Ivorbigun Just One Word CRAP ! 1 stars
10/19/05 R.W.Welch Predictable chase movie has only a few original touches. 2 stars
2/03/05 Jeff Anderson A THRILLING ACTION MASTERPIECE! Jones & Del Toro are great & Friedkin's an awesome director 5 stars
8/16/04 Dallas Moye Well, I loved this film 5 stars
2/08/04 ladeela yea its really gay 1 stars
12/20/03 john Friedkin can and should do better than this - still prety solid overall 3 stars
12/10/03 Joe Boring, predictable, and lots of lemming behavior 1 stars
11/04/03 Taylor Fladgate Boring and predictable. 2 stars
10/18/03 Jinnvisible First Blood was socio-political-romance,man betrayed by country,,,,,but this just SUCKS!!! 1 stars
9/04/03 eddie I deem it worthy, because i would love to kill all you m.f's - kali style,nigga. 5 stars
8/23/03 Chi-Fan Hu So So movie. 3 stars
6/14/03 Colin Selby SUCKS BIG TIME 1 stars
5/23/03 Stephanie Throckmorton Wow, what a romp! (and I never even much liked Tommy Lee Jones or Benicio del Toro before) 5 stars
5/13/03 Mr. Hatd (I'm Back, Mo'fos!!!) The concept of killing poachers & hunters, the cast, and the action are classic! 5 stars
4/03/03 Dr. Gonzo Not great but a nice evening of fun. Well made good actors. Cliche though. 3 stars
3/28/03 Rambo's a Faggot First Blood was the stupidest movie ever made. This has OOMPH, & good actors. Surprisingly 4 stars
3/26/03 Ken I liked it the first time...when it was called "First Blood." 2 stars
3/26/03 snowconehead I liked Del Toro better when I couldn't understand what he said 3 stars
3/25/03 Tinker An amazing movie-reviewed from the "WRONG perspective!-its not about a story...FOOLS. 5 stars
3/23/03 Winthrop J Applesmythe III meh. 2 stars
3/19/03 Mattt Clingerman Fugutive, US Marshalls, what movie am i watching? 1 stars
3/18/03 ^ZuLu^ Stereotypes, clichés and no message. Entertainment was ok but I expected more. 2 stars
3/18/03 Fenster Gimme the fuggin' knife, ya fuggin' cocksuckah! 2 stars
3/17/03 Peter Suddenly, crap doesn't seem so bad. 1 stars
3/15/03 Slice Bladework a bit dull. Expected better. 3 stars
3/13/03 mr. shhh del torro vs. jones+combat knife fighting=GARAUNTEED quality. 5 stars
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  14-Mar-2003 (R)



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