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A Competent, Rambo-Esque Chase Thriller
on 11 August 2015
Benecio del Toro plays Aaron Hallam, an exceptional U.S. Special Forces Operative who's won the rare accolade of a Silver Star medal for gallantry. He goes AWOL and holes up in a forest wilderness, where he uses all his finely honed skills to survive and evade the law enforcement authorities, covert and otherwise, who are keen to take him into custody.
Hallam makes do with a hatchet, knives and man traps, whilst his pursuers are armed to the teeth with hand guns, rifles and poisonous inhalers. However, Hallam is stealthy and surreptitious like a Snow Leopard, and he's an extremely skilful predator in the dense woodland terrain.
Tommy Lee Jones plays Lieutenant Bonham, a retired Special Forces instructor, who is tasked by the Government to help track down the elusive Hallam and bring the fugitive to justice. Bonham is the man who trained Hallam years ago and he's wise to all the trained assassin's tricks of the trade. His search of the forest is supported by a S.W.A.T. team, and the F.B.I., who are led by the diligent, resourceful and tenacious female Agent Abby Durrell.
As the hunter and hunted go ever deeper into the woods, the two Special Forces guys have to resort to all of their lethal combat and extreme survival skills, in order to stay one step ahead of their foe and keep both feet out of a grave.
This is a competent cat-and-mouse chase thriller, which clearly owes a lot to movies like Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) and The Fugitive (Harrison Ford). Tommy Lee Jones as always does a very good job of being the stoic, taciturn, grizzly and relentless law man, a role which he can perform blindfolded. Benecio del Toro is a good actor but I think that he's somewhat miscast in this film - his performance here is a bit understated if not wooden, and he's not exactly a John J. Rambo type - a more muscular and menacing hard man was probably needed for the role, somebody like a Matt Damon or Jason Statham.
Suffice it to say, this is a reasonable action thriller, but if you watched it back to back with Rambo, you'd see why Rambo is comfortably a 5 star flick, whilst this movie merits 3 stars.
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