The Hunted

  • Review Date: August 11, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Common Sense Media says

An awful and graphically violent movie.
  • Review Date: August 11, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Graphic violence, brutal murders, battle violence, many deaths Intense peril

Sex

None

Language

Some strong language

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has brutal violence, including battle scenes. Characters are in intense peril and many are killed. Characters use strong language. Minority and female characters are strong, capable, and loyal and diverse characters clearly respect each other and work well together.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

In THE HUNTED, Aaron (Benecio del Toro) is a former special forces killing machine who has finally snapped. He lives out in the woods and is either so far gone that he believes deer hunters are really CIA agents sent to kill him or he is so far gone that he just kills anyone who crosses his path, especially if they hurt animals. L.T. (Tommy Lee Jones) is a survival expert who trained Aaron and hundreds of other soldiers. He, too, seems to like animals more than people. We see him tenderly rescue a beautiful white husky from a snare and then slam the head of the guy who set it against a table. L.T. tracks down Aaron quickly, but he escapes, so L.T. has to track him down again.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This dreary generic chase movie is so thoroughly formulaic that not even the presence of two wonderfully talented three-named Oscar winners can inspire a flicker of interest. There's not much to the story. There is an attempt at making it all about something more, from the opening with Johnny Cash reciting Bob Dylan's "Highway 61" and encounters with three little girls that may be intended to raise the issue of how our society can turn men into killing machines and then expect them to hold on to human values (or sanity). But it doesn't work.

Del Toro and Jones do their best, and the fight scenes are refreshingly real in this era of fight choreographers and tricks on wires. These fights are awkward, exhausting, and desperate (except when everyone stops what they're doing to forge some new weapons in a completely over-the-top moment of idiocy). But overall, the movie is simultaneously lightweight, pretentious, and forgettable.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether L.T. feels responsible for Aaron. Should he have answered the letters or alerted the authorities to a problem? How do we train people to become killers and then expect them to go on with their lives? Is it possible to give someone like Aaron justice?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 14, 2003
DVD release date:August 12, 2003
Cast:Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen, Tommy Lee Jones
Director:William Friedkin
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong bloody violence and some language

This review of The Hunted was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 13 year old Written bycolten97 October 10, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Excellent for fans of the genre and thought-provoking for others who'll give it a chance

Aaron Hallam is a special ops guy in the military who has been trained by one of the best--L.T. Bonham. Hallam is routinely ordered to execute strategic figures, and he probably doesn't often know why. Sometimes he has to do his work in the midst of chaos, and sometimes he has to take out people who get in the way. After a brief prologue establishing Hallam's character in the middle of the Bosnian conflict, The Hunted has him back in the States, trying to reintegrate with society. When Hallam can't do it, L.T. is sent for to track him down. The Hunted is an action/chase film in the tradition of The Fugitive. Thematically, it is much closer to First Blood, but it doesn't have the firepower of that film. On the surface, at least, the plot is an excuse for the chase and encounter scenes between Hallam and Bonham. If you're a fan of action and fighting films, this may be right up your alley, although there is more to be gained than the surface qualities. Director William Friedkin and the cast are able to create fairly complex characters in Hallam and Bonham through subtle means while the action material is occurring, through well-placed flashbacks, and through two significant, slower scenes that give us a momentary breather. But as much as Del Toro and Jones, the stars of the film are the staging of the chases, the staging of the fights, and the spectacular stunt work. Del Toro and Jones seem to have done more stunt work than is the norm, with Del Toro actually breaking his wrist at one point and halting the production of the film until it healed. Friedkin and editor Augie Hess deserve a lot of credit, as action scenes like these can frequently become muddled. It's always perfectly clear what one location's relationship is to the next location, what and why characters are doing what they're doing, and just what is occurring in the fight scenes--who is injuring who and how. Friedkin never falls back on fast cuts, blurry shots or speed control tricks to mask these scenes. The Hunted is also effective for retaining more realism than is the norm for contemporary action films--not that I ever subtract points for a lack of realism, but the realism is novel here and in context, works perfectly. Friedkin's choice of Johnny Cash songs for the opening and closing of the film was also inspired, as were the beautiful locations. Of course, there's also a more political subtext here--namely that we officially train persons to be fearless killers without a conscience and stick them into the middle of crazy situations, often for extended periods of time, then later expect them to be able to "turn it off" and meld back into society with all of its more mundane norms and mores. The film asks who is really responsible for the later behavior of these persons. The Hunter is also admirable for bringing up these issues, but not providing definite, curt answers. On this end it's not just an action film, but a film to provoke serious thought and discussion.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGE
0
QUALITY
 

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