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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Hunted (review)

Fugi-vu

INT. YOUR HOUSE – 3:39AM SUNDAY

You flip boredly and exhaustedly around the cable spectrum, hoping to find something to either cure your insomnia or shock you awake. You land on USA, or maybe TBS.

  • ANNOUNCER
  • Coming this Friday night, only to USA — or maybe TBS — THE HUNTED, starring Chuck Norris and Dean Cain!

JUMP TO:

INT. HOLLYWOOD MEETING ROOM

An INTERN bursts into the room, startling the executives around the conference table.

  • INTERN
  • Wait! Jones and Del Toro said yes!
  • EXEC
  • Cool beans! Forget cable! We’re going theatrical!

INT. YOUR HOUSE – 3:41AM SUNDAY

You flip boredly and exhaustedly around the cable spectrum, hoping to find something to either cure your insomnia or shock you awake. You land on a commercial.

  • ANNOUNCER
  • Coming this Friday, only to theaters — THE HUNTED, starring Academy Award winners Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro!
  • YOU
  • Cool beans! I’m sure this will totally rock, just like The Fugitive or Traffic, the films for which these fine actors garnered their distinguished awards!

INT. MULTIPLEX – 8:15PM FRIDAY NIGHT

  • YOU
  • Oh man, this is gonna so totally rock!

EXT. MOVIE SET IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST – RAIN

DEL TORO, hunched over a dog-eared script covered with scribbled notes, confers with director WILLIAM FRIEDKIN.

  • DEL TORO
  • So I’m a soldier, I’m battle-scarred, I’m angst-ridden, sure. But what’s my motivation?
  • FRIEDKIN
  • (shrugs)
  • A paycheck?
  • DEL TORO
  • No, no. What’s my character’s motivation? Why do I go insane and start killing people?
  • FRIEDKIN
  • Motivation? Kid, I haven’t made a decent movie since you were in kindergarten. Hello, The Exorcist? That was it, kid. I pretty much shot my wad with that one.
  • DEL TORO
  • (confused)
  • But I don’t understand the whole opening sequence. Why am I targeting hunters?
  • FRIEDKIN
  • So we can stage a cool forest chase sequence, okay? Look, we hauled everyone up to the Pacific Northwest — we’re gonna at least use the woods.

INT. MULTIPLEX – 8:21PM FRIDAY NIGHT

  • YOU
  • Uh oh.

ON THE SCREEN

  • TOMMY LEE JONES
  • Listen up, everyone, Benicio Del Toro has escaped from police custody. I want you to search every outhouse, hen house, dog house… er, cat house… penthouse…
  • (hangs head in despair)
  • Oh god.
  • YOU
  • I am experiencing Fugi-vu, the feeling that I saw this in The Fugitive.
  • YOUR FRIEND
  • But, dude, that is like a perfect movie. Do not besmirch The Fugitive.

EXT. PORTLAND, OREGON CITY STREET – RAIN

Jones and Del Toro prepare for a shot.

  • DEL TORO
  • So, Tommy, this is where we get to do the big cat-and-mouse chase bit, right, exciting, sorta Fugitive-style smart stuff?
  • JONES
  • Goddammit, this is NOT The Fugitive! It’s completely different! I’m not a U.S. marshal but a wildlife-tracker-turned-military-consultant, and I’m hunting you down because you’re taking this “killing for your country” thing too seriously. No one-armed man! No unjustly convicted innocent!
  • DEL TORO
  • But it’s gonna be smart, right, like The Fugitive? I mean, c’mon, Friedkin did The French Connection.
  • JONES
  • Yeah, when you were in kindergarten. Look at this–
  • (opens his script)
  • None of it makes any goddamn sense. This chase jumps from a city street to the middle of the woods. And here–
  • (flips pages)
  • You construct elaborate booby traps in the space of a few minutes while also attempting to conceal yourself from me, the dead-to-rights tracker?
  • DEL TORO
  • (disappointed)
  • Kinda sounds more like The A-Team.
  • JONES
  • Yeah, but without the appealing goofiness.
  • DEL TORO
  • But c’mon, we’re two amazing actors. We’re at least gonna bring something riveting to the screen, no matter how stupid everything around us is. Right? Look–

Del Toro GLOWERS under SEXILY HOODED EYES.

  • DEL TORO
  • C’mon, gimme something to work with.

Jones shakes his head tiredly.

  • JONES
  • Uh, no, son. I appreciate your energy, but no.

CONNIE NIELSEN bounds onto the set.

  • CONNIE NIELSEN
  • Hey guys, what’s going on? Can I be in the movie, too? Can I? Huh?
  • JONES
  • No.

Del Toro’s cell phone RINGS — he takes it from a pocket and answers.

  • DEL TORO
  • Hello?
  • FRIEDKIN’S VOICE
  • And…. action!

INT. MULTIPLEX – 9:47PM FRIDAY NIGHT

  • YOU
  • Let’s go home and watch my DVD of The Fugitive again.
  • YOUR FRIEND
  • Dude.

MPAA: rated R for strong bloody violence and some language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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