|DVD Dawn Rider
Run time: 94 min
Director: Terry Miles
Writers: Joseph Nasser
Stars: Christian Slater, Jill Hennessy, Donald Sutherland
After his father is killed, John Mason is willing to turn the world inside out to find the man responsible. What he doesn’t know is the killer might be in his own house.
|Plot Keywords: revenge, murder, cold blooded killer, bar brawl, bar fight|
Release Date: 29 May 2012 (USA)
Budget: $5,000,000 (estimated)
Having always been a big fan of Westerns I saw this listed and after reading the cast thought it might be an OK watch even though it got a low score on here.
Low scores seem to be becoming a standard on here for any movie that doesn't have lots of action and explosions.
Christian Slater can be very hit and miss with his movies and Donald Sutherland is getting a bit past it and now only plays bit parts, but I still thought this was worth a watch. I hadn't seen any of Jill Hennessy's work before but after watching this now will be having a look at Jordans Crossing.
This follows the tried and true formula of a lot of westerns in the past with man hunts and revenge and a bit of humour thrown in here and there.
Without giving the plot away completely a son (Christian Slater) comes home to his home town and his father gets murdered in a robbery. The son get wounded in the robbery as well and is nursed back to health by an old friend (Jill Hennessy), who just happens to be the sister of one of the robbers.
The son, is also an ex Pinkerton detective and on the run from a dubious character (Sutherland) and he decides to try to find his fathers killers.
Some of the gunfights are a bit farcical and they are not very good shots but overall the movie is quite entertaining and mostly moves at a good pace with a few slow spots. 6/10 for me.
"When my father died he was trying to tell me something, Dos Equis." When fugitive John Mason's (Slater) father is killed by a group of masked bandits he decides to hunt them down and get his revenge. Things get complicated when he realizes that the bandits are closer to home then he thought. I have said a few times now that I don't know what happened to the western genre. After "Dances With Wolves", "Tombstone" and "Open Range" the genre seemed to fall off drastically and is now limited to very low budget cheesy made-for-TV movie type movies. I was looking forward to this one mainly because of the cast. I thought finally a descent western that I will like. While this is a great many times better then 90% if the recent contributions, this felt the same as the rest. This could have easily been another made-for-TV movie if not for the cast. Nothing really original and this is not the return of the great westerns I was hoping for but this is easily one of the better ones in recent memory. Which isn't really saying that much I know. Overall, worth watching and entertaining but it is a little slow and still a B-rate western. I give it a B-.
"Dawn Rider" is a remake of a John Wayne "B" western of the 1930s. The original version ran only about fifty-three minutes, while this remake runs an additional forty minutes – which happens to be one of the big problems. There isn't enough story here to justify a ninety-three minute running time, so frequently the movie runs at a VERY slow speed. But there are other problems with the movie. The movie is also quite dull, and while there are several action sequences, they are very unexciting. While Christian Slater has given some fine performances in the past, he's hopeless here, the last person you would consider being a hardened gunfighter despite not shaving for several days. Donald Sutherland only appears in five brief scenes, indicating he was only hired for a few days so that the movie would qualify for Canadian content rules. The production values are okay, and there are a few well-photographed sequences, but that's not enough to make the movie appealing to even western addicts like myself.
This movie is good in the way a Steve Austin action movie can be good if you know what to expect. It feels like a parody of a western because all the stereotypical elements are there but it treats itself seriously. That's why some will like it and others completely hate it so it makes it difficult to recommend to anyone.
I personally found the clothes and sets a little distracting because everything felt slightly wrong for pre-1900. The low budget probably limited what could be custom made so you just have to overlook it. The music was also wrong in a few places, some points have an almost comical tone and don't match the situation.
If you are the type to get bothered by details then this movie would be difficult to get through, otherwise it's a good average western themed movie. I just don't consider it a good western.