It took me awhile to fall in love with this movie. The Hunted opens with Benicio Del Toro playing a black ops soldier trying to break into a mosque in Sarejevo during their civil war. Unfortunately, their Sarejevo looks less like a war torn city and more like a back lot where everything that is flammable has been set on fire. (Seriously, there is way too much fire in the opening of this movie.) Del Toro kills his target by slicing his throat in a very graphic way, and after he sticks the knife in he gets this bloodthirsty look in his eyes, which is his way of saying “GUYS I AM ABOUT TO GO CRAZY”.
Then it cuts to a few years later when all the bloodshed has broken his brain, and he’s begun to hunt deer hunters in the woods of Oregon to teach them about how they need to have respect for nature. The FBI needs help tracking down this psycho who is excellent at hiding, so they call up Tommy Lee Jones, who trained Del Toro on how to use a knife back in the day. This initial hunting the hunter who hunts hunters part was okay, but the way it was shot kind of made me wish that I was watching a movie about the hunt for Bigfoot; having a Bigfoot in this movie would have definitely improved it.
But once Del Toro is shot with a tranquilizer dart the movie gets great, because they bring him back to Portland for interrogation. If I lived in Los Angeles I’m sure that I wouldn’t care about seeing my city in film, but it’s pretty rare to see Portland in a movie, and I loved how seeing them run around downtown, and I laughed every time they got everything wrong, which was all of the time.
They implied that Pioneer Square is across the street from the Burnside skate park; they called the steel bridge the Hawthorne bridge; they implied that we have a waterfall within a few miles of downtown? They have a big showdown on top of a Max train where the front of the car just reads “PORTLAND”, which is pretty weird to me. I wasn’t living here when this was shot so maybe it was different back then, but now the front of the Max says what stops it’s going to make, and the stop is not “PORTLAND” because all of the trains go to Portland. In fact, because of the way train tracks work they never leave Portland.
Of course, being filmed in a particular city is a thin reason to like a movie, but then again, I can’t complain when it entertained me so much.