Monday, 18 July 2011
BLOOD RIVER (1991)
Directed by: Mel Damski
Written by: John Carpenter
Starring: Rick Schroder, Wilford Brimley, John P. Ryan, Adrienne Barbeau
This little seen western is a fun gem. While it isn't particular gritty, it rockets along with sparky performances and some nice locations. Written by the legendary John Carpenter (and apparently originally intended for John Wayne) it's a lot tamer than many of Carpenter more famous films but still features the fun and likeable characters he is known for. Young wannabe cowboy, Jimmy Pearls (Schroder), kills the bad men that stole the gun his father gave him. One of the slain just happened to be the son of evil rancher, Logan (Ryan) and he and his men pursue Jimmy across the state, gunning for blood. Luckily, Jimmy bumps into and eventually teams up with rowdy, once-lived-with-the-indians, frontiers man Winston Culler (Brimley) and the duo form an often bickering but resourceful duo who plot to take down Logan once and for all.
About as standard a western as they come, Blood River has got good cowboys, evil cowboys, a perilous journey across land and water and, of course, shootouts. It's also got a great sense of fun with Schroder and Brimley making a likeable team as they come up with ingenious and sometimes silly ways of thwarting Logan and his men. The flick is nicely shot (partly by frequent Carpenter DP Gary B. Kibbe), humour and action are delivered in frequent bursts and the lovely Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog) even pops up as the head of a "boarding house."
There are plenty of chases, a few shootouts including the climactic Logan's men vs the US Marshals gunfight and a neat bit where Schroder is dragged behind a horse on a makeshift trailer shooting the bad guys with his trusty six shooters. So yeah, this is a fun western. In fact, it is a lot of fun. Unpretentious, straight forward rooting tooting fun that's recommended to western aficionados, John Carpenter completists and those who like easy going action entertianment.