out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Zuleikha Robinson, Adoni Maropis, Adam Alexi-Malle, Louise Lombard, Beverly Graham, Marshall Manesh, Malcolm McDowell, Frank Collison, Said Taghmaoui, Elizabeth Berridge, Joseph J. Dawson||
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
"Hidalgo" is a walloping, thrilling triumph-over-adversity tale, even
though it gives a wholesome Hallmark Hall of Fame treatment to the story of
Frank T. Hopkins, the world-famous half-Indian U.S. Cavalry long-distance
endurance rider, and his plucky mustang Hidalgo.
The story begins in South Dakota as Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) unwittingly
delivers the military orders that will lead to massacre at Wounded Knee, where
300 Lakota men, women and children were brutally slaughtered by U.S. soldiers.
Devastated, he turns to booze and winds up in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
That's where he catches the attention of a powerful sheik (Omar Sharif), who
challenges Hopkins to enter the grueling 3,000-mile "Ocean of Fire" race
through the Arabian desert. "If the elements don't kill you, your fellow riders
will," he's warned. But the promise of substantial prize money that will help
his people spurs him on, despite distractions by his competitors, an
unscrupulous Brit (Louise Lombard) with her own agenda, and the kidnapping of
the Sheik's daughter. Implausible? Yes. Compelling? Even more so.
Screenwriter John Fusco and director Joe Johnston are so determined to
propel the fast-paced action that all subtlety and character development bit
the dust, perhaps in the editing room. But Viggo Mortensen and Hidalgo more
than make up for it. As Aragorn in "Lord of the Rings," Mortensen emerged as an
action hero; here, he's an intrepid rogue, a new Indiana Jones. Shelly
Johnson's photography is spectacular and kudos to the wranglers who elicited
this horse's hilarious responses. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10,
"Hidalgo" is a hard-riding, adventurous 8. Saddle up for exciting,
crowd-pleasing, heart-tugging entertainment.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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