Apparently director William Friedkin, he of "The Exorcist" fame, didn't quite understand that famous scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" where Indiana Jones has the showdown with the sword-wielding bad guy. You know the one: Indiana Jones is standing there with his whip and the audience thinks, "This will be interesting"; that is, until Indiana pulls out a gun and shoots the guy before the fight can even begin.
This is precisely the reason that survivalist and special forces trainer L.T. Bonham (Tommy Lee Jones) makes the following statement at the beginning of this film: "I don't like guns." This happens so that later, when Bonham is tracking down his dangerous former student, Aaron Hallam (Benicio Del Toro), the audience doesn't laugh itself into hysterics when Bonham starts fashioning a knife out of a rock in preparation for his showdown with Hallam on the cliffs next to some river outside Portland.
It's one thing to watch Hallam forge his metal knife over his hastily-made cub scout fire. After all, he's on the run from the FBI. He needs to utilize these skills. Bonham, on the other hand, is working for the FBI, so it's not unreasonable to suppose that despite his distaste for guns, the FBI might force him to carry one should a situation arise where he's facing Hallam mano-a-mano, on a cliff, near a river, just outside Portland. I mean, if not a gun, how about a taser?
It's actually quite ridiculous to watch Tommy Lee Jones running after Del Toro, followed by a fleet of FBI agents. Friedkin gives us these shots where we see Del Toro, then we see the panting Tommy Lee, and then we see a bunch of police cars and/or helicopters that seem to be straggling helplessly far behind. Of course, Bonham learned his special tracking skills from his father, so we easily accept that he can follow a man in the city better than cars and helicopters.
I'm wondering how long it would take Bonham to follow this movie to the rental section of his local video store. I'm guessing about two months.
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