From director Buzz Kulik, The Hunter has some good action sequences, but it’s unfortunately hampered by a less-than performance by its ailing star.
An aging bounty hunter deals with a pregnant girlfriend and a psycho stalking him.
Bounty hunter Ralph “Papa” Thorson (Steve McQueen in his final film at age 50) is the last of the die hards: He drives a classic old car, using outdated but effective methods in capturing his bounties, and his girlfriend (played by Kathryn Harold) is pregnant with his first child, which upsets him because he hates “new” things. His life is about to change big time with the birth of his child, but that’s not all – a guy he captured years ago (played by twitchy Tracey Walter) is out of prison and is out to make his life a living hell. In the midst of capturing runaway bail jumpers, Papa befriends one of his bounties, a young man (played by LeVar Burton years before Star Trek) who happens to be a whiz at fixing old TVs and pinball machines, which comes in handy for papa who refuses to buy a new TV. But when the psycho on his tail kidnaps his girlfriend and lures him into a trap, Papa is going to have to rely on his wits and old-fashioned cunning to save the day.
Most notable for featuring a sickly and tired looking Steve McQueen in his last film, which was released just a few months before he died, The Hunter is pretty lighthearted action fare in the vein of a John Wayne / Clint Eastwood actioner that has McQueen trying to put on a game face despite his illness and somewhat gaunt and haggard appearance. The film’s standout set piece takes place on a train that has McQueen (and / or his stunt double) dangling from a bar on top of the speeding locomotive as he’s trying to catch a bail jumper who has a child hostage. From director Buzz Kulik, The Hunter has some good action sequences, but it’s unfortunately hampered by a less-than performance by its ailing star.
Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray edition of The Hunter features a brand new HD master from a 4K scan of the negative, and also includes a new audio commentary by film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson, plus the trailer and a slipcase and a reversible sleeve with alternate artwork.