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The Hunter
BLU-RAY disk
Jul 24, 2012 By: J.A. Hamilton
The Hunter order download
Director:
Daniel Nettheim

Actors:
Willem Dafoe
Frances O'Connor
Sam Neill

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Martin David is a mercenary sent to the Australian wilderness by a biotech company in search of a tiger some believe is extinct. This straightforward job gets complicated when Martin gets emotionally attached to a family whose father went missing while looking for the same tiger.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Despite being direct to DVD fodder, I was hoping for something more from THE HUNTER. I like the premise of some dude heading up into the Australian outback in search of a rare breed of tiger said to be extinct. They even show the bad boy in the trailer and he looks creepy as hell. That alone sets a chilling tone that you can't help but be pulled in by. Sadly, the hype is much more thrilling than the final product which felt stale, repetitive and boring. Psychological thriller my ass.

This flick is based on the novel by Julia Leigh, and though obviously the book is always better than the film, this story makes perfect sense as a novel because the main character, Martin David (Willem Dafoe), spends an ungodly amount of time alone; brooding in the mountains, in his car and in the house with the family of a man gone missing whilst doing the exact same thing he is. At least in the book we'd be privy to all his thoughts...rather than just hearing the crackling of his camp fire. And let me tell you, there's loads of camp fire time. I like Dafoe and he plays a good mercenary (with a heart of gold), but the problem is he doesn't have much to work with here. The setup is dull, the pace is mind numbing, the plot is beyond predictable and the true meat of the story (him and tiger) is so painfully downplayed that half the time I forgot why I was even watching this damn movie in the first place. Not a good thing.

THE HUNTER is probably a solid read, and that's what I suggest you do if you're thinking of watching the movie, read the book instead. The biotech reasoning for wanting the Tiger was a cool premise that's never fully explained or used. Sure, Martin's got all kinds of cool gadgets and tricks up his sleeve in the first fifteen or twenty minutes, but that's about it. I loved how they said this tiger uses some kind of toxin to paralyze its prey (badass), so I was hoping for a bit of showdown where we could see this put to good use. Nope. There was a perfect spot for it too (I won't ruin it), but it would've added such a cool edge to the climax (if you could even call it that, because let's be honest the climax is supposed to be exciting), but alas, it just wasn't in the cards. There was far too much time wasted with worthless subplots and not enough engaged in what was making the story interesting. Like I said, it's too bad, I was hoping for more.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary: Director Daniel Nettheim and Producer Vincent Sheehan will give you everything you want to know about the lay of the land as they seem to know Australia in and out. That's great and all, but it sure as hell doesn't make this film any more exciting.

Making of The Hunter: The coolest part about this making of segment is the added insight into the story behind the tiger. The rest is a wash.

Deleted Scenes: Sigh. Seven minutes (with optional commentary), most of which deal with Sam Neill but still don't really add a damn thing to this story.

Previews: There's a couple trailers and that's about it.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It took four sittings to get through this entire film...I never do that, but I'm telling you this as a means of illustrating just how boring it was. Sam Neill, I love you man, but you can do better than this. I did enjoy the final scene, it was touching, but not nearly the payoff I needed to justify the journey.
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