11/26/08

Men of Action Special: The Hunter (1980)

Hello, Moonies. Just here to do a quick makeup post for the Men of Action I missed this week. It's going to be a shorter post, but there's really not too much I have to say about this film anyhow. This is the last film that Steve McQueen released. It feels like the swan song he might have wanted. However this might not be the movie we wanted him to leave on, and perhaps that colors my judgement of it.


The Hunter (1980) starring Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Levar Burton, and Ben Johnson. Directed by Buzz Kulick.





Ralph "Papa" Thorson (McQueen) is a bounty hunter. He's of a dying breed of men who should have wandered the old west, but are born in another era. He chases down the bail-jumpers by whatever means necessary, but he treats them fairly. He even gets a job for his former prey, Tommy (Burton). Life is changing for Papa though. With a baby on the way,his house always filled with hangers on and floating poker games, and money running tight, he's got to score the big jobs. As Papa begins to be stalked by someone from his past, tables are turned and Papa faces any fear to get back to his family.


Film Facts
--Levar Burton's role was not in the original script. However McQueen felt the young actor should have more work and had it written for him.

--The real Papa Thorson was killed by a car bomb in 1994.

--When Steve McQueen arrived at his hotel, he discovered the crew was staying at a cheaper hotel. He checked out and went to stay with them.


The Bug Speaks
The real problem with this film is the plot. It is very weak and the film basically falls apart. The story of Thorson's stalker is poorly done and holds no suspense, and the rest of the film relies on Thorson going out time and time again to bring in bail jumpers. He always gets his man.... or
causes them to blow up their car in a tragic dynamite mishap (which was the high point to these sequences). The problem is with one chase coming after another I had no idea who he was after at any given time or why. McQueen seemed to be exploring the layers of the character, but he has no where to explore them. Anytime that the movie moved out of the stalker or hunting story lines, it was either to interject a the tough guy at lamas class gag or another joke about Thorson's bad driving. Yep, McQueen spoofs himself and plays an inept driver. I enjoyed the joke once, hell, maybe even a couple of times, but it got hammered into the ground.

This film is good enough for a watch though. I mean it's still Steve McQueen. If I can sit though Le Mans then I can make it through this. For folks who love Steve and want to see everything he did, then this is worth checking out. If you want to preserve those perfect moments you've had watching The Great Escape or Bullitt, then pass this one on by.

Bug Rating


I could find no preview, but here is the section of film with the most "dynamite" part!

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