Many people figured The Hunted would be another remaking of The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals both of which star Tommy Lee Jones, and in a way, they are right. The premise is by no means original, but that doesn't stop director William Friedkin from delivering an intense, fast-paced and entertaining action film.
Our main character, L.T. Bonham (Jones) is called out of retirement to find and 'neutralize' his former star pupil Aaron Hallam (del Toro), a decorated combat veteran whose specialty is hacking people to death with a knife. Hallam is the best at what he does, but some past experiences made him go berserk and he's now on a killing spree, including filleting hunters, convinced that the government set him up and is out to get him.
The movie is about 90 minutes long, and moves swiftly, although the opening sequence, containing a narrated illustration of the biblical story of Abraham, is a bit slow. Later on, it does rev up and the pursuit is on. You don't get too caught up in the characters, or their motivations, or a possible sexual tension between the lead male and female character (Jones and Connie Nielsen: Gladiator, Devil's Advocate). It is a chase between two men; schoolmaster and student, mentor and madman, the hunter becomes the hunted. The fights sequences and characters are grounded, the hand-to-hand combat is exciting as well as the numerous chases from city streets to rugged Northwestern terrain.
There is no flying -- people bleed, they fatigue, their hair actually falls out of place. Jones and del Toro are a perfect match for this movie, I could not imagine any other duo pulling this off and prove why they are both Academy Award Winners. Tommy Lee Jones does a fantastic job as Bonham, although most people believe that he's just reprising his role as Sam Gerrard, but he isn't. This character is somewhat like Victor in Frankenstein, chasing after his own creation, rejecting it after it becomes the monster he can't control. Benicio del Toro again delivers magnificently, again playing a character of few words, letting his facial expressions and physicality convey his role. (He won his Oscar for his role in Traffic where he spoke very little English). Ladies, if you didn't think del Toro was sexy before, this movie may very well change your mind. His soft, gruff voice and rugged good looks accentuated with those raccoon eyes will make you wanna touch yourself. (Well, I did.) He can stab me with his knife anytime.
The supporting cast is very muted here, and when they do appear in the movie, they don't do the best acting job. In addition to lame supporting players, there are several plot holes, especially some of the amateurish "errors" committed by Hallam's character, who is supposedly an expert survivalist. We don't find out what makes Hallam snap, either. Still, I appreciated this film and if you like other films by this director or of this genre, hopefully you will too.
Notes: Plot holes, start and stop chases.
Czarina's Caustic Comment or Captious Compliment: mmmmmm Benicio del Toro
Order from Amazon
Buy Posters at AllPosters.com
Internet Movie Database Listing