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THE HUNTED (***)

Movie Review by:
Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Directed by:
William Friedkin
Written by:
David Griffiths, Peter Griffiths, Art Monterastelli
Starring:
Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen
Running time:
94 minutes
Released:
3/14/03
Rated R for strong bloody violence and some language.
 "...there's one thing that Fugitive has that Hunted doesn't-a quality script."
'The Hunted' has been compared with 'the Fugitive' and that may not be fair. The two films do have one man hunting one another. The two films do share the same hunter-Tommy Lee Jones. The two share some fine action sequences. But there's one thing that Fugitive has that Hunted doesn't-a quality script.
 
After hearing the words of Bob Dylan by way of Johnny Cash director William Friedkin starts the film in the past as Aaron (Del Toro) Hallam is on a mission in Bosnia with fellow Army Rangers. We watch him enter a compound with stealth and skill and observe him cooly take out his objective. The next time we see him (well actually hear him) he is taking out two hunters in the Seattle woods with only his bare hands and a cool knife.

Tommy Lee Jones is introduced as effectively as he goes about his job helping the Park Service. He frees a trapped wolf then enters town to explain forcefully to the hunter who laid the trap to never do that again. When Jones returns to his cabin he is approached by an old friend who wants him to assist in discovering who butchered the hunters and since saying no would end the movie he agrees.

As we see what Del Toro did to the hunters we meet Connie Neilsen in a small and eventually annoying role as an FBI agent working on the case as well. Jones tracks Del Toro down in an effective scene that ends in one of the first carefully blocked out fight scenes. There is a point here or in the later climactic scene that resulted in Del Toro hurting himself. The fights are close and quietly brutal with snap thrusts towards the targets. These sequences are the best in the film.

It's at this point the film loses itself. We hear people telling us things that contradict what we have been told before. Del Toro isn't crazy but he's not same either. He's caught but we know he's going to escape (in another great sequence)and along the way we learn more about Jones' character. It's the last thing we learn about a few things.
 
Friedkin and his editor do a wonderful job setting up the climax. During flashback sequences we see that Jones has shown his charges how to make knives in the field. The two locked in combat veterans prepare and eventually get it on in the best of the three times they lock horns.
 
This is very much a guy's movie. Neilsen is wasted here. Apparently Paramount wanted a tight movie so they removed the bulk of the characterization needed to make us interested in anyone other than Jones. Walking out of the theater I wondered what I wasn't seeing and whether the DVD would enhance what could have been a great film but turned out to be just a good one.

THE HUNTED 2003 Paramount Pictures
All Rights Reserved

Review 2009 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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