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The Hunted
2003 - R - 94 Mins.
Director: William Friedkin
Producer: James Jacks, Ricardo Mestres
Written By: David Griffiths, Peter Griffiths, Art Monterastelli
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen, Jenna Boyd, Leslie Stefanson
Review by: Joe Rickey
An FBI deep-woods tracker (Tommy Lee Jones) apprehends a trained assassin (Benecio Del Toro) who has made a sport of hunting and then brutally killing humans in this film directed by William Friedkin, who last helmed The Rules of Engagement with TLJ also, but is probably still most famous for directing The Exorcist.

If the above plot synopsis sounds just a little like the plot for Rambo: First Blood, well you would be correct. This film, from the writers of Collateral Damage and Total Recall (Schwarzenegger films abound) is basically what amounts to a remake of the aforementioned Rambo film with a higher-class director and two Academy Award winning actors. This film also seems to be an attempt by Benecio Del Toro to gain widespread public acceptance because he has yet to star in a good old Hollywood film that doesn’t have any Academy Award aspirations. Costarring alongside a reliable actor such as Tommy Lee Jones was a smart thing to do but is the end result any good?

The Hunted is too often bogged down by contrived plot developments and too familiar content. The film seems to believe that throwing some new plot development at the audience every few minutes will keep interest but it actually backfires as one just chuckles at what is occurring on screen. The film’s resistance in any attempt to break new ground in the action genre also plays against it since the audience has most likely seen at least a dozen movies with essentially the same plot as The Hunted. The supporting cast also fails to make any sort of impression despite the presence of some solid actors such as Connie Nielsen (One Hour Photo). The script fails to develop much of a purpose for the vast majority of the supporting characters. The film also fails to get one too engaged in any of the characters period because even though the two leads are developed fairly well, some more background information on the both of them would have been greatly appreciated. The aforementioned lackluster script also is unable to efficiently answer all of the questions one is bound to have during the course of the film because it seems that the writers are unsure as to how they should tie up the loose ends so they don’t tie them up at all.

Practically buried in all the contrived plot developments and illogical actions are two solid performances by Benecio Del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones respectively. Del Toro really gets into his role as the skilled but psychotic hunter Hallam. Tommy Lee Jones also brings gravity and a good amount of skill to his role as he spouts the clichéd dialogue so good it almost comes across as more than mediocre through his vocalization.

Overall though, The Hunted is a barely mediocre action film that suffers too much from a lack of character development and one too many contrivances.
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

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