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3.8 out of 5 stars58
3.8 out of 5 stars
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A really good movie, squarely in Rambo territory, but cuts its own path far too clearly to be seen as a remake.

At the centre of this are two characters.

Benicio Del Toro, taciturn and brooding, is mostly excellent as the vet gone "bad", the best I've seen from him, although when he is required to be sensitive, it works less well. Unlike Rambo, the military put him over the edge, not the bigoted cop.

However, Tommy Lee Jones puts in yet another simply brilliant performance as the non-killer who trains killers and eventually and reluctantly has to go after one of his own. A complex and reserved character, superbly portrayed by this man who surely ranks as one of the greatest actors around, and with a voice to make your nerves tingle. Only one slight jar; he seems to walk a little stiffly, yet is dynamic in his fight scenes. Well, who the hell cares?

Much of the action and subplotting is fairly predictable, but it's the journey that matters. This does lack some of the sharp dialogue- usually emanating from Richard Crenna- that lightens up "First Blood": "God didn't make Rambo-I did!" and "I didn't come here to save Rambo from you. I came to save you from Rambo." LT gets some great lines, though "If I'm not back in two days it means I'm dead", completely deadpan and completely brilliant in its scene.

At the end of the day, to call this a remake of the brilliant "First Blood" is less accurate than to call "Saving Private Ryan" a remake of "The Longest Day"; there are similarities in setting and context, but no more. Like "First Blood", there is an inevitability about the way it all develops.

An oddly satisfying, gently paced movie, considering its content. Well worth a watch. At the end of the day, there's perhaps not "enough" in this for it to get five stars, which is why I think I very marginally prefer "First Blood", but this might actually be the better film. WHY can't I give it five stars? Dammit, I can.
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on 17 January 2009
A good action movie with a mix of psy-situation (the ex-Special Forces killer becamed a serial killer and chased by his "ex-Jedi Master" instructor) with good action scenes, a very good cast (with Del Toro perfect for the role) and a intriguing plot, but a little confused. With a best director maybe a better movie.
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VINE VOICEon 10 December 2003
Benicio Del Toro stars here as Aaron Hallum, a trained Army killer seemingly severly distresed by his experiences in Kosovo. Four hunters have been killed in woodlands and Tommy Lee Jones' character, LT Bonham, a tracker extraordinaire, is called in to assist in the hunt. As the plot develops, we find out that Hallum had been trained by Bonham in the art of survival and knifecraft, and had come to regard him as a sort of father figure and mentor.
Most of the action takes place outdoors in beautiful scenery, be it in woodlands, snowfalls or on the edge of a river. The script is kind of hackneyed, and the roles are derivative, but Jones gives a good performance none the less. Del Toro is not in Oscar mode here, but does turn in a performance as a confused and dazed man.
The film lost coherence a bit when Del Toro is shown in a scenen forging his own knife, but the knife-fighting scenes have a gritty real feel to them. Overall it's not bad. It's just not great either.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 April 2014
I hated this film and I hardly managed to watch it until the end, for following reasons (some limited SPOILERS will follow):

- the story is stupid beyond anything that words can describe; nothing in this film makes the slightest sense, from the ridiculous beginning to the even more ridiculous ending

- all characters are clichéd - there is not even one a little more original

- the dialogs are lame; also, no humour, not even one good one-liner,

- we can neither relate to the fugitif (Benitio Del Toro), who is a barking mad mass murderer, nor root for the tracker (Tommy Lee Jones), who is simply lame (and no, I don't mean that he is limping); the only character we can feel something for is Abby Durell (Connie Nielsen) from Portland Police Department - but her screen time is very limited

- no police force in the world is as clueless and pathetic as Portland cops described in this film

- even if all Special Forces in US military receive extensive formation in close quarters combat (including the use of knife), use of explosives, precision shooting, wilderness survival and camouflage, there is no such thing as "training of professional military assassins"...

- even if such thing as "training of professional military assassins" existed why in the world would it devote so much time to making of primitive daggers, like those produced in early Iron Age?

- it would take 15 seconds for the lazy scenarist of this film to check on the internet the basic fact, that NO US ground troops were deployed in Kosovo in 1999...

- a wolf taken in a trap, bleeding and half crazed with pain and fear, would ripe open the throat of any human trying to approach and especially to touch him; helping such an animal ALWAYS implicates first using a non-lethal capture gun, because otherwise there will be blood - rescuer's blood...

- neither Pentagon nor CIA are or ever were authorized to carry extrajudicial killings (asssinations) on the territory of USA; the idea that they do such a thing and the target is a US citizen is sheer LUNACY as it would be murder pure and simple and would be prosecuted as such; even the extrajudicial killing of a renegade US citizen (Al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki) ABROAD was allowed only ONCE in the whole history and it took the personal order of the President of United States (Obama in 2011) for this operation to be greenlighted

Considering the cast (Tommy Lee Jones, Benitio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen) and the director (William Friedkin, of "Exorcist" fame), this film is a total letdown - in fact it is just a completely failed remake of "Rambo: the first blood". A film to be avoided with greatest determination.
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on 14 January 2004
Actions thrillers are my favourite films, but recently I have been getting more and more cheesed off with thrillers that promised much, but in the end were souless and unrewarding.
How lucky I was, then, when I found the Hunted!
This film sums up escapism for me. It is 90 minutes of pure and exhilarating entertainment. The viewer is plunged straight into the action, and from then on in it doesn't let up--as we see Tommy Lee Jones hunt down his man and occasionally engaging in what can only be described as jaw-dropping hand-to-hand combat.
Personally, I can think of no better way to unwind after a hard day than to watch two insanely tough and well trained men play a lethal game of cat and mouse.
The acting is solid, the set pieces deliver and you really root for both the hunter and the hunted--which is never a bad thing.
Go on, indulge yourself!
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on 23 April 2014
Tommy Lee Jones is guilty of a little overacting, although he does spend most of the runtime poking, touching and staring at his surroundings for clues – so I guess he’s making up for that. Del Toro does his tried and tested stone cold killer routine, but with such dialogue-light characters neither feels properly developed. The underlying issue being that you should really be giving guys of this caliber deeper, more rounded characters to play with.

The film’s cut well for the action scenes, with a few standout heavy-handed, bloody fights – however there are a few moments where Del Toro feels more like a bogeyman than a human. The film’s full of good locations, good story, good leads – but it somehow fails to fully engage or grip you. Biggest flaw is the lack of mood music, when it appears it’s very low volume, and makes the film feel flat, and vacuous. Director William Friedkin could have got away with spending less on big stars for empty roles, and more for big music over flat scenes.

The Hunted starts off with a bang, but loses focus and audience by about the half-way mark, relying on big, macho action to keep interest up.

Score: 5/10 - from ParagraphFilmReviews dot com
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on 14 August 2014
There are so many things wrong with this film - plot, acting, continuity....For example if you were being hunted in broad daylight by helicopters dogs police and Tommy Lee Jones would you light a fire and start forging a knife? Avoid wasting time and money on this drivel
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2015
As a brain in neutral thriller the Hunted offers much. A great cast, big stunts and pacy runtime mean its a lean chase movie.

That's it, nothing more just a series of chase and escape scenes joined by a thin plot of trained killer gone rougue tracked by world weary mentor.

It's not over deep or sentimental, but efficient, like its lead characters.

As many have stated this is very much First Blood meets the Fugitive, but stands on its own with two great lead actors, realistic stunts and a knowing wink of craziness (the Johnny Cash songs on the soundtrack are a nice touch).

A great mix of action and thrills.
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on 15 May 2006
There are not enough films that deal sympathetically with the impact of fighting in a war and being programmed to kill. This film raises the interesting point of what do we do with these people once they have been utilised to their full potential during War time? Having witnessed the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo at the start of the film, Benicio Del Toro carries out his mission with the swiftness and skill of one of our SAS elite. His courage is awarded with the Silver Star, but the nightmares of what he had to do and witness never leave him and he is seen waking up in the middle of the night screaming and that takes the viewer to the present day in the film.

Tommy Lee Jones is the man who taught Benicio and his fellow soldiers how to kill and how to survive. He is working as a conservator for the Wildlife Fund and in a touching scene early on in the film he rescues a wolf from a snare and appropriately deals with and humiliates the culprit responsible for it. I found his character quite relatable in that respect. His character appears very enigmatic and quite solitary in the film.

Someone (Del Torro) is butchering hunters and decapitating and disembowelling them. Tommy Lee Jones has to assist the authorities in hunting Del Torro down (although at this point it is not quite clear who is the hunter or the hunted).

As the film progresses and Del Toro is arrested it turns out that he employed by the American Government for top secret killing missions. This then builds up to an excellent high-octane finale.

There is quite alot of violence (as with most 15 rated action/horror films these days), but it is not excessive and it is relevant to the story and the theme of suffering (both mentally and physically).

Del Torro just wants to return home to his family and put the past behind him, but this film deals with the tragedy that it can't happen that way, his fate has been sealed from the moment he was recruited for covert missions.

This film struck a chord with me because I know of people who have had to deal with the horror of war and the fact that afterwards they can never lead a normal life.

An underrated, poignant gem of a film. The acting from all involved is top grade.
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VINE VOICEon 14 November 2009
Benicio Del Toro plays a Special Forces veteran who becomes a serial killer. He is pursued by the ever excellent, but aging, Tommy Lee Jones who had trained him in the army in self defence, survival, the effective use of the knife, and turned him out a ruthless killer; A task his student excels in. The bottom line is knowing when to switch off. This the young man is incapable of and has become a virtual robot.
This is a fast moving, well choreographed film, with no plot to speak of and host of faces I did not recognise. The scenery, however, is breathtaking.
A watchable film if there is nothing better around at the time.
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