Monday, May 1, 2023


 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Best Action Trailer” at the Golden Trailer Awards. It lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

• Best Scene/Moment (tie): Any hand-to-hand fight sequence between Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro and the moment during a chase when Del Toro flips Tommy Lee Jones the bird. It’s so unexpected and really funny.

• Best Song: “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash. Remember when early 2000s action movies (Gone in 60 Seconds, The Rundown, Walking Tall, Kill Bill Vol. 2) kept putting Johnny Cash on their soundtracks?
• Best Merch: An XL The Hunted promotional t-shirt for $14.99. It’s not a bad shirt but it just says “Hunted” on it so people might feel sorry for you when you wear it out in public because they won’t understand the context.

• Director Check: The Hunted was directed by the amazing William Friedkin. Friedkin grew up in Chicago and made documentaries for a few years in the early to mid-1960s before making his feature directorial debut in 1967 with Good Times starring Sonny & Cher. He continued working consistently for the next few years and had a enormous success in 1971 directing The French Connection, which was a huge hit and won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for William Friedkin. He followed up The French Connection with the indelible classic The Exorcist and the much-loved Sorcerer, which reunited him with Roy Scheider, one of his lead actors from The French Connection. Friedkin has had a career of highs and lows (critically and financially) ever since, with some of my favorites being 1985’s To Live and Die in L.A., The Hunted, and 2011’s Killer Joe, which was his most recent feature released in theaters. Friedkin has directed other notable films including Cruising, Blue Chips, Jade, Rules of Engagement, and Bug. His most recent directing credit was the 2017 exorcism documentary The Devil and Father Amorth. According to IMBb, Friedkin’s next movie is in production - a war drama titled The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Clarke, Jake Lacy, and the late Lance Reddick.

• Double It with This 2003 Movie: The Missing
• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Basic, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, The Rundown

Draft Day or The Hunted? Draft Day

• Mall Movie? I’ll say yes. It’s a pulpy, genre programmer despite being from Paramount Pictures (usually not a mall studio) and with Oscar-winning talents (William Friedkin, Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro).

• Only in 2003: Indestructible Tommy Lee Jones. He has the stamina of Ethan Hunt and the healing powers of Wolverine in this movie.

• Scene Stealer: Ron Canada. I just like that guy. He’s so Ron Canada.

• I Miss: Movie stars, especially when it’s marketed like a head-to-head showdown.

• I Don’t Miss: Critics dismissing serviceable movies like this. Now most of them love everything, which is also a problem.
• 2003 Crush: Connie Nielsen.

• 2023 Crush: Connie Nielsen.

• What I Thought in 2003: I remember seeing The Hunted opening weekend with low expectations because the reviews were bad and being surprised how much I liked it. It was a short, straightforward, gnarly little action movie with no pretense of being anything other than what it is.

• What I Think in 2023: I still like The Hunted, although I had a memory it was sneaky great (there’s a contingent of us with that sentiment out there) and it’s really just good and not much more imho. The Hunted feels like a movie that had 30 minutes of exposition removed from the final cut. What’s left is a fun, lean fugitive chase movie with some amazing close contact fight sequences. They made me wince. There’s so much cutting and stabbing. I love Tommy Lee Jones’s performance too. He does some interesting things with his physicality that tell you a lot about his character without him having to comment on it.

1 comment:

  1. I think i heard a story from Friedkin, about this movie. They were setting up a scene and Benicio Del Toro was asking him his motivation, or something like that. Friedkin answered simply "you're entering the door and stepping over a body, that's it".