The Hunter (1980)

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Released 4-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 93:25
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Buzz Kulik

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Steve McQueen
Eli Wallach
Kathryn Harrold
Levar Burton
Ben Johnson
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Michel Legrand

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Hunter stars Steve McQueen as Ralph 'Papa' Thorson. In what was his last film before he died in late 1980, he plays a modern day bounty-hunter who roams the countryside looking for bail-skipping fugitives. He really should have been born a hundred or so years before, as he is quite out of touch with the modern world. He can barely drive a car (a joke that is played upon way too much), is certainly not your romantic new-age guy and is having a supremely difficult time committing to his rather pregnant girlfriend, Dotty.

    There are essentially three plotlines on the go here. In between picking up various hoods, he finds he is dodging threats from a revenge-seeking crazed psycho whom he earlier put away. He also has problems with his girlfriend, who wants him to play more of a role in the coming birth of their child. The big problem is that none of these plotlines are given the time to develop or actually go anywhere. We learn nothing about the crazed killer, and the relationship between Thorson and his girlfriend just doesn't seem real. The script is rather poor in developing any of this story any further. The scenes where some action actually takes place are quite laughable with a really cheesy score and a cheap feel to the whole production. Watch the scene with a stolen car, a crop harvester, and a chase through a corn field to see what I mean - Hitchcock this most certainly isn't.

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer is in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and features 16x9 enhancement. Considering the age and quality of the film itself, I was surprised by the quality of the transfer, which is far better than many I have seen.

    The transfer is quite sharp overall, with a decent level of detail present. Shadow detail is never compromised. Grain is very obvious and rather ordinary in the opening couple of minutes, but clears up pretty quickly and doesn't become too much of a nuisance. There is no low level noise.

    The colours are pretty much as expected for a film from the early 80s - muted and dull, with plenty of browns and the like. There are no problems such as oversaturation or chroma noise, other than skin-tones that on occasion take on a little extra redness.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are limited to a few cases of aliasing that pop up on numerous occasions - see the worst example at 6:14 on the lines on a road. Film artefacts are present, though certainly not in the numbers I expected. This is quite a clean print overall in this regard.
    A decent array of subtitles are present. The English variety are more than acceptable.

    This is a single layered disc, so there is no layer change to worry about.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are five audio soundtracks on this disc. All are mono Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks encoded at 192 KB/s. The languages are English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian. I listened to the English track and verified the presence of the others. The audio is harsh, flat, and rather bland. It has very little dynamic range and actually became quite annoying to listen to at my normal review volume. Turn it down just a bit and you'll enjoy it a whole lot more.

    Dialogue is also quite harsh at times, with little dynamic range. ADR and Foley effects are quite poorly done at times and sound too obvious. There are no audio sync problems

    The score is credited to Michel Legrand. It is quite dated, with the action scenes in particular being rather tacky and filled with high frequency piano percussion that gets a little grating after a while.

    There is no surround or subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer

    The trailer runs for 3:04 minutes and is presented in the same aspect ratio as the main film, 1:78.1. It is also 16x9 enhanced. The quality is not quite as good as the main film, but it is close. Not the greatest trailer ever, as it shows pretty much the whole film and nearly every key scene. Then again, I guess it saves you having to watch the whole film, which could be a good thing!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 and Region 1 disc are almost identical. The Region 1 disc only has an English soundtrack, missing out on the four other languages that are present on the Region 4 disc. Video and English audio quality appear to be identical. There is no reason to favour the Region 1 in this instance.


    The Hunter is an instantly forgettable film. The acting is second rate, as are most of the production values. Unfortunately though, they both outshine the script, which is truly awful and filled with contrived and laughable scenes.

    The video transfer is rather good for the quality of the film. It far exceeded anything I was expecting.

    The audio is mono only, and is harsh, tinny, flat, and really quite annoying when played at a high volume.

    The extra is limited to a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Sunday, July 14, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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