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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English, French, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired
  • 6 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Animated menus
  • 4 Documentaries

The Hunted (2003)

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . MA15+ . PAL


There’s just something about Benicio Del Toro. He’s so well suited to the psychotic, drug-burnt whack job.

And as for Tommy Lee Jones, well... is he not perfect as a law enforcement officer in pursuit of a baddie only he can doggedly bring to justice?

Except here, both play parts not quite like those, but they are apt descriptions.

Our horror story opens in Kosovo during the bloody feud of 1999. Elite U.S. Government assassin Aaron Hallam enters the war a whole man, but leaves with his mind somewhere off the map. Upon his decorated re-entry to the States, he disappears and before long bodies start turning up in the forests of Oregon. Realising he can never be found, they turn to the guy who trained him to be so adept. Enter Tommy Lee Jones as L.T. Bonham, probably the world’s greatest tracker, who is only contracted to the government; he hasn’t even killed anyone.

With the stage now set, the feral pursuit through both city and the wilderness begins. Along the way we learn more of Hallam’s harrowing ordeal and come to realise he certainly didn’t choose to go mental; his government pushed him into it. That doesn’t mean he can roam free, however, and Bonham must use all of his skills and then some to catch him.

As a thriller, this one has it all and is a damn good watch, but for the eclectic nature of the script. Hallam and Bonham meet so often it’s like they’re barely apart at all. Although, each encounter does bring us that little extra shard of the broken mirror. Interestingly, the film makes little use of guns, preferring instead to have our adversaries wielding rough-hewn knives in some pretty fierce and grisly encounters. The primal jungle boy inside me was going apeshit during this film, reminding me of times growing up where we would hunt each other down in the bush, finally making our bloody kill Lord of the Flies style. Pig’s heads and all.

I won’t discredit the enlightened women of 2004 by saying they probably won’t enjoy this nearly as much as the fellas will, but it’s probably true. This has testosterone bleeding from every pore and is a great way to spend 91 minutes if the cricket’s rained out.


Shot last year (2003), the film looks pretty kickarse. Picture quality is superb and befitting of the usual calibre of the Buena Vista dudes. Colours are choked with earth tones and greens throughout the jungle scenes (obviously) while in the city they instantly become a rainslick grey. Flesh tones are fine with excellent shadow detail and realistic blacks. The computer effects are so invisible as to almost be unpickable and these have been created by the people of Industrial Light and Magic, so you know they’re awesome. My only real flaw is in some persistence of continuity woes. Things chopping and changing throughout gets a little annoying and flaws the impact of the film.


Dolby Digital 5.1 surround is our usual Buena Vista fare and here it has been worked very nicely indeed. The opening scenes of Kosovo are everywhere with tanks rolling and explosions going off all over. Not to mention the window-rattling gunfire. Cool!

Then there are both the city and forest scenes that again move restlessly through the entire network, bringing both the confusion of the forest and the claustrophobia of the city to believable life. Excellent.

Dialogue gets a little tricky at times, with some characters literally racing through their lines or just mumbling them, like our friend Benicio does so eloquently. Brian Tyler’s musical score here is another feather in the cap with expressions of emotion and mood befitting each scene without overpowering it.

This is an all round impressive sound delivery and earns its ten yellow bulletholes.


First of all there are some nicely animated menus, utilising moments from the film to good effect. We are also treated to an audio commentary from director William Friedkin, although he repeats himself and his anecdotes several times here and among the documentaries that follow. I’ve never been a fan of the lone gunman commentary and here there’s nothing to impress in any great respect.

Four documentaries follow, though these are really just short featurettes on varying film-related topics. The first, Pursuing The Hunted runs for 8:08 and discusees the building of the story and real-life inspirations of the characters. Cast interviews and such are included.

Second is Filming The Hunted which features interviews with the cinematographer and discussion of stuntwork etc. Pretty interesting stuff, particularly the making of the Kosovo scenes, with the bit running for 9:30.

Third up is Tracking The Hunted which is by far the most interesting one, but runs the shortest. I hate that! This one covers real-life inspiration Tom Brown, the incredible tracker upon whom Tommy Lee Jones’ character is based.

Finally, The Cutting Edge isn’t about the knives, as I hoped, but is more about the stuntwork and filming the knife fights. Oh well. 8:42 long.

Deleted scenes stop by next, but these are delivered without context and with a ‘play all’ feature. Quite uninteresting, but for the scene where Jones climbs a tree.

The trailer is our last extra here and this plays for 2:15 in 1.85:1 sans 16:9 enhancement. There’s a fair whack of stuff here, with the featurettes definitely being the highlights.


Well, I really enjoyed this film, but found it mildly difficult to get into its rhythm as it chopped back and forth between forest and city and forest and wartorn countryside. However, this isn’t a massive failing as the characters maintain our interest throughout. These have been carefully sculpted as the focus of the tale, with multiple opportunities for adversaries to meet and do battle as we race headlong for the finalé.

I readily recommend this to anyone who likes a Rambo-esque story with Academy Award winning actors doing the talking and acting, rather than muscle-bound monosyllabic morons.

Track it down.

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      And I quote...
    "Action and dialogue devoid of musclebound moronese, with a fresh approach to an ancient art..."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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