A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What 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
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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- In theaters: March 14, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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