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How Many Ways To Kill Someone? `The Hunted’ Explores Possibilities

Chris Hewitt Saint Paul Pioneer Press

“The Hunted” Theaters: East Sprague, Newport and Coeur d’Alene cinemas Cast: Christopher Lambert, John Lone and Joan Chen Running time: 98 minutes Rated R

“Make them suffer,” John Lone says in the bloody, violent “The Hunted.” I think he’s talking about the audience.

You know a movie is in trouble when its most entertaining moment is a brief clip from “The A Team,” with Mr. T dubbed into Japanese. Much of “The Hunted” is also in Japanese with English subtitles, but it’s nowhere near as good.

Christopher Lambert stars as “a New York businessman” who locks horns with a group of evil ninjas who wield pointy, poison-dipped Frisbees. Plenty of Sino-mite action follows.

It’s strictly for the strong of stomach, though. Director J.F. Lawton is probably trying for overthe-top, John Woo-style thrills, but he doesn’t have Woo’s wit or relentless energy. The bonecrunching killings in “The Hunted” are repetitive. And humor? Lambert occasionally seems to think he’s in a goofy Jerry Lewis comedy, except for the 80 or 90 disembowelings.

Lambert’s no help. Like most American businessmen, his character is well-versed in gunplay. He’s also supposed to become an expert ninja in just three weeks, but it’s hard to believe Lambert is capable of learning anything. Especially since his unnatural, orange skin looks like he was marinated in teriyaki sauce.

The movie’s peak, if it can be said to have one, comes on a speeding train, whose occupants are ripped limb-from-limb, car-by-car. Later, one of the killers in that slaughter says, “I’ll be waiting for you in hell.” I bet I know what the in-flight movie will be on the way there.

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