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Dan Heller's Movie Review of "The Hunted"

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Benicio Del Toro/Tommy Lee Jones
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The way William Friedkin's latest film, "The Hunted", appears, you'd think it was the next sequels of the "Fugitive" movie series. It's the same type of formula, where a fugitive is running from Tommy Lee Jones, who directs a team of FBI agents in hunting him down. However, other than a copious amount of blood in many fight scenes, the film essentially adds up to nothing.

The premise of the film started off very well, as did the setup and the initial portrayal of characters. Tommy Lee Jones stars as L.T. Bonham, an FBI agent who used to train special-ops soldiers in hand-to-hand combat and field survival skills. One of his best students is Aaron Hallam, played by Benicio Del Toro, who served in the Serbian/Kosovo conflict in the 1990s. He's gone over the psychological edge due to the horrors he's witnessed as a soldier, and with his new-found awareness that man is an unjustifiable killer, he decides to take it upon himself to play judge, jury and executioner… by killing a couple of men hunting deer. Bonham
Benicio Del Toro
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is called in to track and hunt down Hallam, but instead of this being a long drawn out series of clues that build up over the course of the film that leads to a final and dramatic capture, the same sequence of chase-catch-escape events repeats over and over and over. After a while, you begin to wonder, "where's this going?" Nothing changes in each iteration, other than each conflict involves more blood.

From a basic filmmaking perspective, "The Hunted" is fraught with sloppiness. Bonham's one and only form of tracking something is looking for footprints. I counted nine times that he glances around and notices very obvious and identifiable footprints in the snow, mud, grass, or wet shoes on concrete. Cleverness aside, my tolerance wanes too far when I begin to look at my watch, wondering how long each of these constantly repeated segments will go on. Even the gory blood and guts got a little repetitive. I've learned to overlook the fact that someone's thigh has
Tommy Lee Jones
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been stabbed, yet they still walk and use their legs as if nothing was wrong, but when streams of blood start to come out (to the thrill and enjoyment of the audience), and the combatants are never affected in any perceivable way, I begin to sense something's wrong. ;-)

While I have no objection to copious violence or explicit gore, "The Hunted" fails to go anywhere as a story. No characters really have motivation or explanation for why they do what they do, no relationships are developed, and only the one between Bonham and Hallam is even given a background history. Yet, even then, nothing developed in any way, despite obvious and desperate opportunities to lead them along throughout the film.

Tommy Lee Jones
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There's not a whole lot of positive stuff to say about "The Hunted", but I can report that it is one of the few seriously testosterone-laden movies that's been released lately. Oddly enough, this is probably more of a chick-flick than one might think, especially judging from the audience and the pitch of the screams (and ooh's, and ahh's). Obviously, it's not a film for every gal, but if you want to see hunks battling it out a lot, this is the one for you.

You can find this movie on the internet database here: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0269347

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