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The Hunted

movie reviewvideo review out of 4

*Also starring: Connie Nielsen, Jenna Boyd, Leslie Stefanson

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

THE HUNTED, by director William Friedkin (RULES OF ENGAGEMENT), is another one of those stories about a rogue military agent. The killing machine in question is named Aaron Hallam, a man who is supposedly missing in action. Aaron is a Teflon-coated invisible man with Rambo skills, who is currently taking out people who may or may not be deer hunters. (The hunters' exact identity and back story seems to have been left on the cutting room floor. All attempts for the plot to make much sense seem to have been given up in order to turn the picture into a lean, mean, fighting machine.)

Aaron, played in another of his one-note performances by the overrated Benicio Del Toro, is a near superhuman, thanks to his training long ago by L.T. Bonham (Tommy Lee Jones). No matter how many sharpshooters simultaneously have Aaron in range, their bullets can't hit him. Trained to blend into his surroundings, people have trouble seeing him even if the audience doesn't.

After an incident in 1999 in Kosovo, when soldier Aaron wins a medal for bravery, we cut to the present and the deer hunter incident. L.T. is called in to track the untrackable Aaron and bring him in.

The movie starts off well but quickly goes downhill in scene after scene of needlessly preposterous actions. One chase has Jones, who is 55+ years old, chasing and catching a train going 55+ miles per hour. Jones's knife and fist fights with the much younger, bigger and stronger Del Toro are also hard to buy, but they go after each other again and again in one gory battle after another. After watching THE HUNTED, men are going to want to order whatever Jones takes since he has the strength of ten men plus two, which isn't bad for someone a few years away from collecting his Social Security pension.

Jones is one of my favorite actors. I hated seeing him wasted in this ridiculous part. The script, by the writing committee of David Griffiths, Peter Griffiths and Art Monterastelli, should have been junked. The story idea has promise, but there is no need to make the antagonists into comic book characters with superhero powers.

THE HUNTED runs 1:34. It is rated R for "strong bloody violence and some language" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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