The North Star
12 weeks ago
The North Star >
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Set during the Alaskan gold rush of the late 1800s. In his efforts to gain control of a small mining town, Sean McLennon is buying up every mining claim that becomes available, usually after the deaths of the previous owners at the hands of McLennon's "assistants". One of the miners targeted by McLennon, a half-Indian hunter named "Hudson Saanteek", manages to escape his hired thugs, and comes back into town looking to re-establish his claim and get revenge. McLennon and his men have the advantange of numbers and weapons, but Saanteek has his survival skills, and knowledge of the Alaskan wilderness.
NORTH STAR is a virtual reprise of the 1981 Charles Bronson vehicle DEATH HUNT, which saw a posse headed by Lee Marvin searching the icy wastes for a fleeing trapper played by the DEATH WISH actor. NORTH STAR sets its story in Alaska and features James Caan as the hunter and Christopher Lambert as his quarry.<br/><br/>Despite a decent pacing and some good set-dressing - you never question the setting for a moment - this film has little to recommend it. Lambert fans (are there any?) will be let down by their star's performance, which is wooden even by Lambert standards; little he says or does rings true, and he's almost entirely lacking in star presence. There's a hollowness in the middle of the film which a proper actor should be filling with charisma, wit and heroism.<br/><br/>James Caan is much better as the arrogant villain, a role he also played to the hilt in ERASER. He chews the scenery and shares a decent rapport with Burt Young, playing a fellow bad guy for a change and doing well with it. Catherine McCormack is once again wasted as a love interest, though, leaving 28 WEEKS LATER the only film I've seen that actually makes use of her acting talents.<br/><br/>The pace is good and the outdoor wilderness scenes look fantastic, really bringing the chilly wasteland to life. Scenes of the participants sledging through snowdrifts on their husky-drawn sleighs are a lot of fun. It's just a shame that there's no real meat on the bones, and that the ending is lacklustre to say the least. NORTH STAR fizzles instead of bangs, and that's why this wintry western has been long since forgotten.
Sorry friends this is a frozen turkey; just it's an interesting turkey courtesy of Caan & Young. Years back they made two superior films- The Gambler & The Killer Elite. It's nice to seem them looking so good 25 years later even considering the material.<br/><br/>When the movie starts I started to think of Jimmy Stewart & Walter Brennan in The Far Country. Afterwards, Valdez is Coming. By the end it just freezes to death of its own weight. It's supposed to showcaset this Highlander guy but he doesn't even rise to the level of Steven Seagal.<br/><br/>I laughed and enjoyed Caan as a ruthless businessman turned psycho killer but somewhere Sonny Corleone is shaking his head. John McIntire too.
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