L.T.: Once you are able to kill mentally, the physical part will be easy. The difficult part… is learning how to turn it off.
from The Hunted
The Hunted was an excellent variant on the First Blood / The Bourne Identity idea of a very dangerous, highly trained fighter on the loose. Like The Bourne Identity, it has some really cool fights using Kali, in this case the Sayoc Kali-Silak System.
Director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) came up with the idea after hearing about Tom Brown, Jr., a tracker and Survival expert – he combined that idea with a script about a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest. He involved Brown himself, who brought in Tuhon Tom Kier and Tuhon Rafael Kayanan (Tuhon is an honorific akin to Sifu, I believe). Kier is a senior instructor in Kun Lun Pai silat under Willem de Thouars.
Like Wing Chun, Sayoc Kali-Silak is strictly a combat-oriented system. They emphasize a mindset in which the trainee is taught to be a “feeder.” Its looks pretty close to the Wing Chun idea of “attacking the attack” or making your opponent the “victim.” Your “defense” is the fact that the opponent is trying to not be killed or knocked out!
The fights in this movie are harsh and no-nonsense and the actors really brought it, the fighting an extension of their acting.
Tommy Lee Jones looks alert and a little worried (probably because he is older and not in a state of readiness to handle Benecio Del Toro‘s younger and more freshly blooded fighter. Del Toro has a wariness combined with a self-destructive calm, like he half-wants to die, a dangerous trait in a highly trained killer.
I really liked this movie and both major fights are kick-ass (with a few flaws). The first one really flows based on the enviroment, from empty hand versus empty hand to stick versus empty hand to stick versus knife, in a very realistic manner. The fighting choices the characters make are based on the real world fact that weapons beat empty hand 99.9% of the time.
The flaws? Its a little slow at first. Why doesn’t Tommy Lee Jones cave in his skull with that stick when he gets him down? He violates all his own principles in that moment! I guess it would make for a short movie and maybe he feels bad for having “made him the way he is” – a killer.
PS that’s a cool knife.
PPS SPOILER ALERT: These scenes are key to the movie – if you plan to watch it, I would not watch these now.
The second fight is to the death:
There is an excellent article on the KBS System of Filipino Martial Arts website which really goes into the whole behind-the-scenes development of the fights for the movie. Apparently while the Kali palyers were training Del Toro, director Friedkin asked them what a real knife fight might look like. They did a demo and Friedkin incorporated the extended knife fighting into the film.