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The Hunted (2003)

The chase is on

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Being bloody is one thing – being bloody stupid is another entirely. "The Hunted" isn't the worst movie of the year, but it may well be one of the most disappointing.

What can you say about a film so totally bereft of character, entertainment value or plain logic? Aaron Hallam (Benicio Del Toro) is a "killing machine". So, as is entailed by the job description, he runs around the woods killing people. Tommy Lee Jones – as we've learned from "The Fugitive" and "U.S. Marshals" – is good at chasing people. So he does that. And that's about it. Growl. Grrr. Hunting, big guns, testicles. All very macho, I'm sure.

What is the point of all this? Think "First Blood" for the clinically brainless and you won't be far away. Hallam, the poor dear, has been scarred for life by his involvement in various military nasties. L.T. Bonham (Jones) was his mentor back in the days when, according to the flashbacks, handlebar moustaches were in (so still not sure how long ago it was, then). But don't let that fool you into thinking there's any sort of character development involved here. There's not.

Every time things threaten to get interesting or there's even the slightest danger of letting us get to know the characters, director Friedkin throws in another monotonous chase scene, drawn-out knife fight or instance of L.T. surviving ridiculously perilous situations. But favourite moment of all for me has to be when L.T., tubby and out-of-shape though he so clearly is, catches up with a moving bus (on foot, mind) and hops almost effortlessly aboard. Why on earth are two fine Oscar-winning actors like Del Toro and Jones taking work like this? Shame on both of them.

It's Got: A fugitive character who handily leaves a trail of glaringly obvious clues everywhere he goes. You’d hardly need to be an expert tracker to catch up with him.

It Needs: To take a serious look at the casting of the less-than-sprightly Tommy Lee Jones as some sort of superman, capable of receiving repeated stabbings and bounding full pelt alongside moving vehicles.


A laughably bad action movie, with an overall rating bumped up only by the obvious capability of the actors involved – which of course begs the question of why any of them wanted that involvement in the first place.