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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

The Hunted  

Review: written 2003

'First Blood', crossed with 'The Fugitive'

It's not hard to see how this movie got made.. a director known for gritty streetwise thrillers (The French Connection), about a soldier who was trained to kill, but now can't turn it off due to battle scarring (First Blood, anyone?), starring Tommy lee Jones reprising his role in the Fugitive, but with a twist..

Tommy Lee Jones is just the right casting for the role of the 'Tracker' - a man whose father was a soldier, but trained his son how to kill, and survive in the wilderness, be stealthy - in order that he would never have to kill. Now one of his protégés has gone rogue, and TLJ is brought out of retirement to track him down, meeting along the way the FBI agent played by Connie Nielsen. The concept is a good one, if unoriginal. The idea of the tracker is fascinating, and apparently not without basis in fact - but the execution is a mixed bag.

On the plus side, the knife fighting scenes have a gritty fast moving realism to them that has rarely been seen. This is one of the movies big attractions. On the minus side, the movie feels like it has been chopped up, and pieces gone missing. Even the deleted scenes only give a hint to some of the directions the movie was going. There is a cynicism about America’s military here, similar to Friedkin’s last movie Rules of Engagement, but whatever message comes along with that has thinned out along the way. The roles the actors play do not leave the actors room to flesh out and inhabit their characters. Connie Nielsen does her best, which is pretty darn good, in a woefully underwritten role which seems in the end to serve little useful purpose.

On the whole though this is an edge of the seat chase movie, set in breathtaking, if chilly, scenery in Oregon and British Columbia, and should not disappoint. Just don’t expect to remember much about it in a month or two.

This only scrapes 7 /10 due to some of the great fight choreography.





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