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  • German: Dolby Digital Surround
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The Hunted (1995)
Universal/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 106 mins . M15+ . PAL


Paul Racine (Christopher Lambert), an American businessman visiting Japan, gets more than he bargained for after a night on the town with the beautiful Kirina (Joan Chen). Witnessing the murder of Kirina at the hands of Kinjo (John Lone), head of the feared Makato ninja clan, Racine is lucky to escape with his life. Hunted by ninja that the police refuse to believe in, he is forced to turn to Takeda, head of one of the few surviving Samurai houses. Unfortunately for Racine, Takeda (Yoshio Harada) has his own agenda on how he and the situation will be handled.

Many might believe The Hunted to be yet another B-grade Christopher Lambert film with little going for it, and could be excused for thinking such given some of his more recent outings. That's not quite fair in this case, as we get a film with an mildly intriguing story that is rich with Japanese culture. Indeed, more than half of the dialogue is Japanese, presented with subtitles, while the score for the film is provided by Kodo, a Japanese taiko group - a style of music relying mostly on percussion.


Visually The Hunted is at the better end of Universal's spectrum, with very strong blacks and decent shadow detail making it that much easier for the ninja to hide without worrying about any pesky compression artifacts to give away their positions. Likewise, colours are rich and vibrant without looking unnatural, although Kirina's dress in the dream sequences is very red, but that's probably a deliberate move. Some edge enhancement is noticeable if you look for it, but for the most part there's not enough to be distracting.

As far as your ears are concerned, the only potential problem with the soundtrack would be one of volume levels, as Kodo's msuic is significantly louder than the dialogue - not a problem if you happen to enjoy it, but drums aren't everyone's cup of tea. Although presented in Dolby 5.1, there's little call for rear speakers to come into play, being used mostly to show off the soundtrack, and most of the action occurs on the front soundstage. As mentioned, the dialogue is quiet compared to the music, but suffers from no other problems.

Extras on the disc are the usual variety - a theatrical trailer, cast and crew bios and half a dozen screens of production notes discussing some of the differences the director and producers found when filming in Japan. For those with a DVD-ROM, you can access the web links and get to the Universal Home Video website - those without can type in the URL instead and get the same result.

If you're a fan of martial arts films The Hunted should make for an entertaining night's viewing, and would be a good call for those who like their action films to have a little more heart and soul.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Not just another B movie... but Lambert still can't escape the sword wielding roles. Definitely worth a look."
    - Andrew MacLennan
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