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The Hunted: Starring the Tracker Knife - Blade Magazine (Feb 11, 2003)
By Joe Kertzman

Even Hollywood has a difficult time determining who the biggest star of the new hit movie The Hunted is—Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, or a knife.

The Tracker Knife is the brain child of tracker and survivalist Tom Brown, who was called in as a consultant on the set of The Hunted. Brown’s rèsumè reads like a screenplay itself and, in many ways, his personal life parallels the storyline of the movie.

Paramount Pictures’ The Hunted is a suspenseful thriller about a tracker, L.T. Bonham (Jones), who teams up with FBI agent Abby Durrell (Connie Nielsen) to hunt down a trained assassin, Aaron Hallam (Del Toro). The Tracker, a knife Brown designed and commissioned TOPS Knives to make, is used extensively by Del Toro throughout the movie. Its significance to the movie script is comparable to the roles knives played in First Blood and the subsequent Rambo movies, according to Mike Fuller of TOPS.

“There is a great deal of realism in this movie. The knife is presented like a character throughout the flick, more so than in Rambo, where the knife was identified with a character. The Tracker Knife is a character itself,” Fuller insists.

The knife of Brown’s design has been built by various people over the years, but has remained virtually unchanged, and the TOPS version is no different. At 1 pound, 9 ounces, it is no lightweight, but rather the quintessential survival knife, including a 6 3/8-inch, full-tang, big-bellied, black-epoxy-coated 1095 blade, 1/4 inch thick.

The front curve of the blade ends 4 inches from the tip, leading into a straight, draw-cut section terminating at an integral finger guard. The spine of the blade features deep thumb notches near the handle, a down-sloped section designed to be hit with a hammer and, nearest the tip, large teeth for sawing, notching, scoring and breaking wire. A black-linen-Micarta® handle and Kydex® sheath complete the package. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP): $299.

The movie props include not only the Tracker Knife, but a flintknapped blade that the character Bonham uses in the course of tracking Hallam.

“The flint knife Tommy Lee used for the fight scenes has a 9-inch blade made out of stone chert [a compact rock consisting essentially of microcrystalline quartz],” Brown explains. “It was made by one of my instructors, Billy McConnell, and, being smaller and lighter than the Tracker, it moves quicker for fighting and self-defense.”

Actor-Friendly Knives
“There were also a wide assortment of actor-friendly prop knives, some made out of aluminum to keep them light,” Brown adds. “Some were hard- and soft-rubber knives, and others were ‘blood knives’ that, when the actors sliced with them, left fake blood trails. I think there were a couple of close-up scenes where the actors used the actual Tracker and flint knives, but they treated them like gold.”

The Tracker Knife traces its roots back to an interview between Brown and a journalist more than 20 years ago. During the interview, the reporter asked him which survival knife he considered the best. Tom considered the question before replying that the ideal survival knife did not exist. When asked why, he said, “Because I have not designed it yet.”

This website has no official or informal connection to the Tracker School or Tom Brown Jr. whatsoever


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