by William "The Exorcist" Friedkin
Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, & Connie Neilsen.
get dumber and dumber while we get wiser and wiser. That’s
the trend I’m seeing these days. It’s almost as if a film
only needs to have a few cool gimmicky things in its corner
to get a pass from viewers and critics and that’s a crying
shame. Swordfish had that awesome intro
explosion and the promise of Halle titmeat while other
films rely on stunt casting or some other bit of trickery.
The Hunted has a trio of talented people
as the principals and a near-legendary director at the
wheel. You know what else it has? MY HATE.
trailer made the film out to be First Blood: The
Second Coming. The premise made the film out to
be US Marshalls meets First Blood.
The film made the film out to be Facerape 9: The
an interesting but bizarre beginning sequence in Kosovo
that showcases the eerie effectiveness of Benicio’s Aaron
Hallam in battle, the film almost immediately plunges
itself into the terrorizing of my eyelids. It’s a shame
too, because there are some neat things working under
the surface that could have helped the film. Seeing Benicio
work his way headfirst down a rope while sneaking into
the enemy hideout is really neat. Also, it’s interesting
to watch a cadre of well-armed
American soldiers sit and watch as dozens of helpless
civilians are gunned down. Men, women, and children are
all send screaming off their mortal coils. While that’s
certainly not a friendly thing to see in a flick, it’s
nice to see them not cop out to being heroes and defeating
an army with just a few gruff soldiers. It’s neat and
different, and surprisingly grisly.
they introduce Tommy Lee Jones’ character, L.T. Bonham.
Apparently, he’s the best tracker around because he can
follow bloodstains in the snow and smell and lick plants.
He also wears cute little shoes and helps remarkably tame
wolves out of traps. He also is mean to poachers and is
rather antisocial, as evidenced by the gruff way in which
he deals with his former employer. The film makes him
likable by having him vomit after a shaky helicopter ride.
That’s called character development, folks.
Benicio’s character goes AWOL and starts killing hunters
(including character actor Rex Linn, best known for saying
"Goddamnit" excessively in Cliffhanger),
the film starts killing brain cells.
of all, if I remember correctly… ventriloquism isn’t
one of the deadly arts our elite military soldiers are
taught, nor is teleportation. That said, Del Toro’s character
defeats the two hunters by seemingly using both tools.
Also, his reasoning for killing the hunters is that they
are a "sweeper team" sent after him even though
they’re baffled by his presence in the forest. Huh? Also,
if they are badass military folks after his ass, how come
they’re as effective as balls on a nun?
thing is, in a film you can’t just say someone’s a badass,
you have to show it. Nearly every character on both sides
of the law is inept as hell. They either have some bizarre
heightened sense of awareness that gives way to absolute
stupidity or are just plain stupid from the get-go. Jones’
tracker is a master on killing people and the man who
trained Del Toro yet their combat is awfully boring (partially
due to the editing) and seemingly mundane. Perhaps it’s
because the actors aren’t right, but more likely because
Friedkin relied too much on how the film would be made
in the editing room…
sucks because this is one of the worst edited films in
a long while. The way the film unfolds is terrible, and
for a while I thought they’d swapped reels or something.
It unravels so clunkily and with such odd decisions that
I was surprised that editor Augie Hess wasn’t an Alan
Smithee-type pseudonym. It’s nutty. Additionally, the
story is structured so weirdly that the antagonist is
caught or cornered like 4 times in the film and none of
the confrontations are memorable. Then, when the big confrontation
happens, it’s only worth noting for the almost comical
amount of bleeding that happens.
a film like this is allowed to have some weaknesses as
long as it compensates in another department. Sadly, there
are no real strengths aside from noting how fit Connie
is fine, but is given little to do and is saddled with
a horrendous sequence where he trails Benicio through
a metropolis. It’s five minutes too long, entirely unrealistic
(so very much so), and tossed any remaining interest I
had into the shitter.
is at his worst here, his very worst. Just watch the sequence
where he’s on the run yet makes the time to school his
girlfriend’s daughter on the way a squirrel strides for
any clarification. Benicio is a good actor, but not a
leading man you can pop in any role.
line, the film is ripped shit.
you can learn from The Hunted:
- Having a knife plunged through your arm, your guts slashed open,
and numerous other slash wounds is really only a minor
irritant when you’re tough.
- When on the run from every law enforcement official within a 60
mile area, it’s perfectly understandable to create an
intricate trap featuring two giant spiked smashing logs
in a minute and twenty seconds.
- You’re the best hunter/tracker that money can buy when you can
corner your quarry, even trap your quarry three times
and allow him to get the drop on you.
- When on the run/chasing the one who’s on the run, the ideal thing
to do is sit down and fashion yourself a weapon by whittling
one from stone or becoming Carl the impromptu blacksmith.
- William Friedkin of 2003 couldn’t pour the milk of William
Friedkin of 1971.
- Benicio Del Toro is NOT a leading man for normal mainstream
films. If it ain’t weird, don’t call him.
- All you have to do to be an FBI agent is to do that cool thing
where you hold a flashlight next to your pistol all
- The military is so dark and tricky that it sets itself up to
be defeated by a lame rogue soldier whenever possible.
- It is perfectly fine to undergo two hairstyle changes during
a two-day investigation if you’re a FBI agent.
and logic are easily forgotten as long as you have tons
of arterial spray in your film.
your quarry has just barely escaped from you in a beat
up Buick, you’d rather go through his belongings than
film is demolished ass.
Tommy Lee Jones, the punishment is simple. Sixteen screenings
of THE HUNTED coupled with a fourteen week sentence where
he has to wear his silly shoes from this film at all Hollywood
gatherings. Oh, and a punch in the jowls from a Sledgehammer!
era David Rasche. For Benicio Del Toro I recommend a visit
from the Humanoids From The Deep, one with repeated beachside
molestations and perhaps a few acting lessons from the
shambling, salty beasts. For William Friedkin, I have
a much more severe recommendation. Retire. Listening to
Friedkin on commentary tracks and documentaries reveals
a headstrong egocentric filmmaker, which is fine when
your work speaks for itself. Lately, Friedkin’s work is
a deaf-mute. Bill, take a ride with the Charon and say
"Hi" to Calibos for me.