American businessman Paul Racine (Christopher Lambert) is in Japan with his companion (Joan Chen) when they become the targets of the murderous Kinjo (John Lone). Kinjo orders Racine's death, forcing the businessman to join up with a Samurai warrior who has a score to settle. An age old battle is about to come to its climax...
, the imposing French actor with the nasal whine best known to American audiences as Scottish swordsman Highlander, plays a rank amateur in The Hunted.
He's an American businessman in Japan who lucks into a one-night stand with slinky Joan Chen and winds up a witness to her murder by a mysterious band of black-clad ninjas. Escaping not one but two attempts on his life by a little quick thinking and a lot of dumb luck, he winds up on a harrowing bullet train ride. As swarms of masked assassins decimate passengers in search of the elusive eyewitness, Lambert's laconic protector, rough-edged samurai Yoshio Harada, unleashes a martial arts frenzy of flashing swords in close quarters. His savior is not as altruistic as he seems, however. He just wants to lure mysterious ninja overlord John Lone out of hiding and into a fight to the death on Harada's island fortress, and Lambert is little more than live bait. Though it made few ripples at the box office, The Hunted
is a slick and surprisingly smart thriller. Lone and Harada cut striking figures as the warriors following ancient codes in the modern world, and writer-director J.F. Lawton (screenwriter of Pretty Woman
and Under Siege
) gives them almost as much screen time as ostensible hero Lambert. The action scenes are furious and fast paced, lacking the grace and precision of real Japanese samurai adventures but full of clever flourishes. --Sean Axmaker