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The Hunted

Year: 2003
Director: William Friedkin
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen
The first I heard about this movie was a sneak look in UK Total Film, reporting very excitedly (and rightly so) about a chase/action movie starring two great actors that promised a lot of tension and thrills and looked like one of the biggies of the year.

Something obviously went very wrong, because it surfaced on video only in Australia a year or so later a pretty average movie. The hype must have overpromised and the movie subsequently bombed in the Northern hemisphere.

Not that it deserved much better. Total Film went on to describe it much later as a cheap remake of Rambo, and they weren't far wrong. A Kosovo vet (Del Toro) is emotionally scarred and takes to the Oregon forest after his discharge using his green beret-style skills to hunt down and kill hunters.

In a move that was obviously supposed to be a hook to show how similar the hero and villain were, Lee Jones is a retired army instructor who's taught many (including the villain he must now hunt down) in the ways of a executing precise and efficient death, but now lives in a secluded cabin in the Rockies rescuing animals caught in traps.

The advance talk also pointed to extended man vs man vs nature overtones thanks to shots of the leads in wild backdrops like forest and raging rivers, but the chase takes place throughout urban, suburban and the surrounds of Portland.

Del Toro is laughable playing against his ethnic lineage as a white American boy, Jones is a cross between his own Sam Gerard character and a Gaia-loving hippie. As she did in Basic Nielsen is effective but ends up just looking useless as second fiddle in an average action movie.

Unusually bloodthirsty, stretching the amount of times a man can be stabbed and sliced with a knife and keep fighting far beyond reality.

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