Action Move Fanatix Review: The Hunted

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Some Men Should Not Be Found.

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen

Director: William Friedkin

2003  |  94 Minutes  |  Rated R

“If you cross this line, you better be ready to kill me.” – Aaron Hallam

I’ve seen The Hunted compared to First Blood many times and since Rambo is my all time favorite action hero I figured I should see how Tommy Lee Jones & Benicio Del Toro live up to the legend.  They never really had any chance…

Deep in the woods of Silver Falls, Oregon AWOL Special Forces operative, Aaron Hallam (Benicio Del Toro) is tracked by his mentor L.T. Bonham (Tommy Lee Jones).  Both men are experts in the art of knife fighting and close quarters combat but the atrocities of war may have pushed Hallam over the edge.

The similarities between The Hunted and First Blood only lie in the characters of Aaron Hallam and John Rambo.  Both are special forces and both have gone a little bit AWOL.  The big difference is, obviously, that the audience is expected to cheer Rambo because he was so blatantly wronged by the sheriff.  Hallam’s tale is not quite as easy to decipher.

It seems for a few minutes that there is some sort of conspiracy against Aaron Hallam but then we are supposed to forget it and root for L.T. Bonham to capture or kill Hallam for the very same government (so it seems) that was originally out to get Hallam for no reason.  I spent the whole time rooting for Hallam to win or at least find out why the government is after him only to be disappointed in the end.  Maybe I was reading too much into it but I could never get behind Bonham and instead rooted for Hallam the whole time.

It did seem pretty unrealistic that Tommy Lee Jones’ character could ever be a match for the much younger, more in shape, militarily trained Benicio Del Toro.  It is an old, bearded, beer gutted Jones vs. the special ops woodsman Del Toro.  Again, I’m rooting for Hallam.

The knife fights are pretty dang sweet.  It is obvious that both men trained extensively for these scenes.  It’s too bad there weren’t more of them though.  This isn’t really an action packed movie though so don’t go in expecting explosions and machine guns.  They weren’t invited to this party.

Even though The Hunted is a very exciting, suspenseful movie with an intriguing storyline it doesn’t even come close to the level of First Blood.  The script doesn’t seem to know whether to peg Bonham or Hallam as our hero and it left me cheering for the wrong man (supposedly).  That is just too big of a flaw to overlook but there are some great action spots highlighting Hallam’s woodsmanship (word?) and the knife fights.  The knife fights alone probably make it worth 94 minutes of your life.

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