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STEVE MCQUEEN'S FINAL LIFETIME BOUNTY FOR 'THE HUNTER'

Debbie Miller & Steve McQueen Year: 1980 Rates: ***1/2

Steve McQueen began his career as a bounty hunter on television's WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE and ended as one on the big screen, twice: TOM HORN was also a rebounder tale, and actually resembled a theatrical motion picture while THE HUNTER looks and plays-out like a made-for-TV movie...

But a pretty good one as McQueen's real life Ralph 'Papa' Thorson seeks various bond-skippers, each more difficult and troublesome than the next: In one case the violent powerhouse nephew of McQueen's GETAWAY foe Ben Johnson; and later a literally explosive tractor vs Trans Am cornfield chase... 

Leaving the best for last... That finally suits the big screen involving a desperate, hostage-taking young "shooter" on a subway train, obviously influenced by THE FRENCH CONNECTION as opposed to McQueen's classic BULLITT that THE HUNTER deliberately contradicts, particularly since real life car-fanatic McQueen plays a terrible driver, which is effectively humorous compared to more contrived setups: like Papa's crowded house of poker buddies, a crooked cop friend, and a much too perfect pregnant girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold), sporadically stalked by a vengeful speed-freak adding furious camp value and yet, overall, THE HUNTER delivered for McQueen's fans what they (and even he) didn't realize was a swan song. Plus it's the first and last time he'd utter the cliché line, "I'm too old for this" in a vehicle that's both the end of phase one and the beginning of a comfortably aging phase two — that sadly never came to pass.

Steve McQueen doing an actual stunt in THE HUNTER
Margaret O'Hara and Thomas Rosales Jr. (Dean Ween lookalike) THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen in THE HUNTER with his real antiques
The skimpy bond boss Eli Wallach & McQueen in THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen ages in his final turn as THE HUNTER
Much too young/pretty Kathryn Harrold & McQueen in THE HUNTER
McQueen with the real life Ralph Papa Thorson in THE HUNTER
Tracey Walter goes bonkers in THE HUNTER
An explosive stunt in THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen hides from the bombs in THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen, LaVar Burton and Karl Schueneman in THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen as Papa Thorson in THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen as Papa Thorson in THE HUNTER
Rental Car Girl DEBBIE MILLER in THE HUNTER w/ Steve McQueen
The Trans Am v the Tractor in THE HUNTER
Gorgeous rental car girl DEBBIE MILLER in THE HUNTER
Gorgeous rental car girl DEBBIE MILLER in THE HUNTER
Gorgeous rental car girl DEBBIE MILLER in THE HUNTER notices...
What Steve McQueen did to the Trans Am in THE HUNTER
Gorgeous rental car girl DEBBIE MILLER in THE HUNTER
Gorgeous rental car girl DEBBIE MILLER in THE HUNTER
Gorgeous rental car girl DEBBIE MILLER in THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen as Ralph Papa Thorson in THE HUNTER
Steve McQueen with his own personal train set for THE HUNTER
Expecting father Steve McQueen passes out in THE HUNTER
Life replacing death i.e. final image of Steve McQueen in any movie here in THE HUNTER

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