Tag Archives: Benicio Del Toro

The Hunted

Tommy Lee Jones is Agent Bonhan, an FBI deep-woods tracker who captures an assassin (Benicio Del Toro) with a weird proclivity — he makes a sport of killing deer hunters. When the killer escapes in the city, Bonham must team up with another Bureau agent (Connie Nielsen) to hunt down the thrill killer before he starts to hunt them. William Friedkin directs.

Rating: 3 out of 10

I love William Friedkin. If you’re not aware of him, he’s the Oscar-winning director of both “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist.” He’s a die hard proponent of blu-ray and loves explaining the in’s and out’s of the filmmaking process within the extras on his film’s discs. Friedkin’s entertaining, insightful, and a joy to listen and learn from. It’s with that sentiment I hate admitting that “The Hunted” is a very flawed film. There are so many problems with the writing that I don’t even know where to start. First off, we’re supposed to believe in the idea that Benicio Del Toro’s has gone off the deep end. Well, that’s impossible to accept when every little thing he does is so calculated. He knows exactly when to perform each and every action along with the consequences of a wrong move. If that’s the case, why would he ever go down this path in the first place? Also, I love Del Toro but he’s lifeless here. I want to see a bit more life out of a guy that has essentially thrown his entire life away while being hunted by the man he seemingly respects the most. Also, he seems to understand the tracking process that Tommy Lee Jones uses to find him. If that’s the case, why wouldn’t he do things to throw him off the path? Wouldn’t his own student know how to keep the bloodhound from smelling the blood? Lastly, all of the action scenes have very little emotional involvement. There’s so little back story that was never told. If we could see the progression of Del Toro’s character a bit more and feel the sadness that could come with him becoming a hardened murderer, it would have added so much to the last 1/3rd of the film.

On the bright side, Tommy Lee Jones is as terrific as ever. The Hunted is at its absolute best whenever he’s on screen. Also, Friedkin knows how to stage action and use the camera in interesting ways. Unfortunately, Del Toro and his writers didn’t show the same care for the material.

The Wolfman

Based on the 1941 classic, this werewolf-themed horror film set in Victorian England centers on Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro), an American man who, upon a visit to London, gets bitten by a werewolf. Talbot had come to England to make amends with his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins), but after a moonlight transformation leaves him with a savage hunger for flesh, family harmony is the least of his worries.

Rating: 3 out of 10

I have to admit that this is one of the more difficult reviews I’ve done in a while. Why, do you ask? Well, there’s a lot of talent going on here being wasted.

Director Joe Johnston (Hidalgo) has some excellent action scenes as well as moody lighting and camerawork, Hopkins is truly at the top of his game as the Wolfman’s enigmatic father, and Del Toro is also quite good as his son and heir apparent. On the other hand, the script just sucks. There’s little if any character development, there’ s a muddled love story that never feels right or evokes any emotion and there’s very little motivation to any of the main characters’ actions. When the end credits rolled, I practically forgot I ever watched it.

On top of that, let’s face it, werewolves are just plain goofy. Yes, they might have been terrifying in the early days of cinema when film was not as refined as it is now. But the idea of a guy turning into a half-wolf, half-man on the night of a full moon and mindlessly killing people is just plain silly. In fact, I found myself giggling a few times when he’d still be wearing part of his clothes that were torn to shreds after his “transformation” and howling at the night sky. I guess it isn’t just that this film is bad — it’s more that it never should have been made at all.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

An adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel of the same name, this film details a drug-induced search for the “American Dream,” by Thompson, played by Johnny Depp, and his crazed, Samoan lawyer (Benicio Del Toro). Fueled by the massive amount of drugs they purchased with an advance from a magazine to cover a sporting event in Vegas; they set out in the Red Shark. Encountering police, reporters, gamblers, racers, and hitchhikers, they search for some undefinable thing know only as the “American Dream” and find fear, loathing and odd adventures into the dementia of the modern American West. Directed by Terry Gilliam (The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnasis, Brazil).

Rating: 8 out of 10

Is there a more talented actor working today than Johnny Depp?   If there is, I can’t think of one.  He doesn’t just play a character, he completely inhabits the role.  Here he plays Raoul Duke, a writer who goes to Las Vegas with an unlimited expense account and a penchant for experimenting with every drug imaginable including ether, acid, marijuana and cocaine all packed neatly in a suitcase that he carries around as if it were his child.

It’s important to note that this film is not linear.  You could throw it in at almost any point and you’re going to capture part of the experience.  This is completely done on purpose by director Terry Gilliam who is known to be infatuated by the surrealistic works of Fellini and Antoniono.  In other words, it breaks the standard linear way we’re used to absobing stories and breaks it down into individual moments of a larger experience without a true Macguffin or story arc.  And, it is done to great effect here.  We are put in the shoes of an eccentric drug addict and his partner in crime (played brilliantly by Oscar-winning actor Benicio DelToro) as to what the world would look like through his eyes.  Everything we see is an exaggerated haze of emotions and visuals.  While some may find this to be a bit overwhelming, I found that it was an interesting way to experience a film that is unlike any other.

Sin City

Four tales of crime adapted from Frank Miller’s popular comics of the same name, this film, directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez (Grindhouse, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) and Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction), that focuses around a muscular brute looking for the person responsible for the death of his beloved Goldie, a man fed up with Sin City’s corrupt police department who takes the law into his own hands, a cop who risks his life to protect a girl from a deformed pedophile, and a hit man looking to make a little cash.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Anyone who has ever loved comic books has always waited for a film that conveyed the feeling you get while reading one.  Well, comic book lovers, your movie has come!

Sin City is a film that is so unbelievable visual, so unrelentingly interesting, and so fleshed out with interesting characters and multiple plot lines that, yes, I would call it a living and breathing comic book.  Rodriguez has hit one out of the park and created by far his best film to date and the performances he’s given by Mickey Rourke, Nick Stahl, Clive Owen, and Bruce Willis are stellar all around.

The thing I noticed while watching this movie was that once one story ended and another began, I kept thinking the last part couldn’t be topped and I was wrong.  Each part of the plot perfectly complements the other to create one large story in the vein of Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” or “Reservoir Dogs.”  I will give a word of warning to the squeamish:  This film contains ultra explicit violence that is almost unrelenting from start to finish.  If you can handle that and love comic books, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to miss out on this gem.