Underrated Gem: The Hunted (2003)

When most people hear the name William Friedkin they will usually think of The Exorcist as it (and The French Connection) are arguably his most iconic films. A few weeks back I talked about Sorcerer but one of his best films is an action movie from 2003 starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro called The Hunted.

It’s about a tracker called Bonham (Tommy Lee Jones), who teams up with FBI agent Abby Durrell (Connie Nielsen) to hunt down a trained assassin Hallam (Benicio Del Toro). With precision and skill, the predator remains one step ahead, and escapes into the city.

It’s sitting at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes which I personally think is a disgrace; Friedkin’s films could sometimes be guilty of being a little too slowburn in parts but not this time. The Hunted is a frenetic action-packed 90 minutes with some superlative action scenes. It’s hard to pick a favourite moment; there’s the epic knife fight at the end but I love when Hallam and Bonhman first face off in the woods using hand to hand combat. The camera holds back and it looks like both actors (and their stunt doubles I imagine) went through some serious training.

I think this must be one of Tommy Lee Jones most physical movies to date as he runs, fight and swims to get his man and will never stop; when I first saw trailers I thought it as a new Fugitive movie and although it does involve Jones trying to bring someone in who is on the run, this time the fugitive isn’t wrongly convicted but an assassin who has PTSD which has pushed him over the edge. Hallam sets traps around the woods to slow down his pursuers so I suppose it’s a cross between The Fugitive and First Blood.

The opening sequence is incredible as we see Hallam in Kosovo during the war with explosions and fire everywhere looking very much like Hell; within a few minutes you believe 100% that this would give anyone PTSD and it’s horrifyingly spectacular.

The Hunted is around 90 minutes so it cuts off any excess meat and is one of the most intense action movies you’ll see with some brutal action and hard R violence.

The fact you have two powerhouse actors elevates it from being would could be seen as an otherwise generic chase movie; Connie Nielsen is always great to watch on screen even if her character is somewhat pointless. This is all about Jones and Del Toro so anyone else is just in their way.

Over the years The Hunted has garnered a cult following but if you haven’t seen it then just blind buy it as you won’t regret it; it’s amazing stuff and the type of movie you will watch again and again.