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