The Hunted Film Details
Overview: An American businessman visiting Nagoya, Japan, meets a woman in a hotel bar. Returning to her room, 3 ninjas kill her and wound him, but he sees the ninja boss’ face. Now, he’s the prime target of a dangerous ninja cult.
Tagline: He’s trapped in a world where killing is an art and revenge is an obsession
Review: This movie has a lot of factors to recommend it and here they are: 1) The bullet train battle. One samurai and his wife take on a dozen ninjas aboard a passenger train. This scene must be seen to be believed, trust me. Which brings up another great feature: The samurai’s wife loyally stands by his side no matter what he does, right or wrong, until the bitter end. She’s just as capable and brave as he is, and is always right in the middle of all the action. He’s not the stereotypical loner; he has a woman he can always count on. Also, the villain himself has a perverted version of this relationship; he too has a steadfast wife that he relies upon. 2) There’s a lot of very adept writing throughout the film. Among some other excellent concepts, it also pays tribute to the Iliad (honest, it does) by using two major plot points from the ancient masterpiece. There’s a skillfully done version of Hector killing Patroclus, who’s disguised as Achilles; and of course the old Trojan Horse shows up at the end. 3) It subverts a lot of Hollywood clichés. The white hero is injured, helpless and physically outmatched for almost the entire film, and he requires a lot of rescuing by some of the Japanese characters. When the white hero fights the villain, it’s the villain who’s badly wounded and exhausted, not the other way around as it usually is. For a change, the hero is the one who resorts to dirty tricks and improvisation to win. So it actually seems somewhat realistic that the hero could come out on top in this case. 4) The sword fights are quick and brutal and gruesome. It’s all stabbing and slashing; not that constant parrying with the swords clanging off each other for ten minutes and no one gets hurt until the finish. 5) There’s a distinct element of Japanese mysticism and superstition, but it’s all very subtle and not obvious at all. There’s a little bit of reference to curses and legends and so forth, but it isn’t laid on too thick. The samurai picks up the wrong sword during the penultimate battle, and it costs him his life. Joan Chen’s character supernaturally guides and aids the hero after her death, but it’s never blatant. A young Japanese girl who is certainly her in spirit form (Lambert even refers to this girl as his “angel”) saves him at the Pachinko arcade and later on she shows up as herself in a hallucination, which stays the villain’s deadly hand just in the nick of time. Same as she watches over the hero, she also hexes the villain before her death and haunts him until his own end. It’s a nice touch. 6) There’s a faint undertone of attraction between the samurai’s wife and the hero. The samurai even seems to give it his blessing as he’s dying, when he orders her to survive her own wounds. Of course, she and the hero are the only ones still alive after the big battle sequence and it sure looks like they will hook up quite soon. 7) The acting is uniformly outstanding and exceptional by all the Asian actors and actresses. Christopher Lambert is one of the oddest movie stars ever; his acting is wooden and his accent is distracting, but he does somehow pull it off and makes a fine hero this time around. Anyway, this is a classic action flick and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you’re like me and are fascinated by the concept of ninjas and samurai still secretly lurking about in the modern world, and of course doing battle with each other, then you need this one in your collection.
Language: English, Japanese
Duration: 110 min
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Also known as: Yakuzan tuomio,W potrzasku,ハンテッド（1995）,The Hunted,Av,O kynigimenos,Stvanica,Преследван,Преследуемый,Прогоњен,La proie,Presa de la secta,A préda,Perseguido,In trappola,The Hunted – Der Gejagte,Marcado para Morrer,Le pourchassé