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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Hunted

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Judy Thorburn

The Hunted

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“’THE HUNTED” CAPTURES OVERUSED CHASE FORMULA

If you’ve seen First Blood, the Sylvester Stallone flick of 20 odd years ago, or the more recent The Fugitive, than you’re not in for much of anything new. It’s just a more updated version. Like in The Fugitive, Tommy Lee Jones once again portrays the pursuer, hot on the trail of a man wanted for murder. What’s added is an introduction voice-over by the original Man In Black, Johnny Cash, reciting some Old Testament verse about God demanding Abraham to “kill me a son”.  It’s supposed to be a lead in to what’s coming, but is more of a pretentious use of the quote, since it is not really justified. The Bible refers to faith and trust and the symbolism here doesn’t come close, even though it does try to send a message about man’s inner struggle with good and evil.

The story opens up in 1999 war torn Kosovo, and graphically depicts a covert operation taking place.  An elite team of Special Armed Forces have gone in to stop the ethnic killings of Albanians in a village, and to murder the  Serbian Commander in charge of the atrocity. Benecio del Toro is Aaron Hallam, the killing machine, who receives a Silver Medal of Valor upon his return home, but is haunted by the memories of the crimes he witnessed and the brutal acts of murder he, himself, perpetuated.  Fast forward to 2003, and Aaron appearing to having cracked, has escaped into the wilderness where he acts as a one man zealous PETA activist, systematically utilizing his training to kill and mutilate deer hunters without the use of a gun. Meanwhile, retired military contractor L.T. Bonham (Tommy Lee Jones) is living in the snowy mountains of British Columbia, where he is now working for a wildlife firm, tracking and protecting forest animals.  When FBI agent Abby Durrell (the attractive, underused Connie Nielson, Gladiator, One Hour Photo), realizes this killer is more than her men can handle, she calls in L.T. to track down and capture his former student, who he trained in everything he knows about survival techniques and how to be a skillful assassin.

Both men carry a heavy burden whether they are aware of it, or not.  L.T. although never having killed, taught others how and carries some guilt. Aaron, on the other hand, cannot sort out the difference between killing to protect or destroy, and must be stopped.  In mental pain and anguish, he had sent letters to L.T. asking for help, but his pleas were ignored. Basically, the story tries to capture a symbolic father/son relationship in such a way stated by Jones’ character when he says “I made him what he is, and I can stop him.”

The movie relies on lots of chase scenes, like the one through the rainy streets of Portland, Oregon, over waterfalls, and mountain terrain. Caleb Deschanel’s cinematography of the Pacific Northwest  and overhead views are gorgeous. And director, William Friedkin(The French Connection, The Exorcist) is in his element creating a tense thriller.  But, there are so many implausible elements and stunts that detract from the story, including the way Benecio’s character is able to forge a weapon out of a piece of steel, and create a boobie trap from two huge pieces of lumber in record time. Also Tommy Lee, in his late fifties, is able to keep up to speed with Benecio, who is thirty seven, and has almost super human strength in man to man combat  with his much younger opponent. The fact that he is stabbed repeatedly, gets impaled with a wooden stake in his thigh, and continues to jump, run and act like nothing happened, is amazing and unbelievable.

Tommy Lee and Benecio are two very good actors who do the best with the script. Not relying on much dialogue, its their facial expressions and body language that captures the intent of their characters. However,  Jones should give this role a rest.  He’s been there and done that one too many times, already. And Benecio needs something more that he can sink his teeth into.  Although there are enough action packed and suspenseful moments, The Hunted can best be described as another testosterone pumped chase film.

That leaves me to cut to the chase…If you don’t catch The Hunted in theatres, don’t worry. It will be captured on video, and available at your local Blockbuster, in no time.