Mar 102004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

“Hidalgo”

Part “Indiana Jones,” part “Seabiscuit,” though not as good as

either, “Hidalgo” tells the story of Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo

Mortensen), an American cowboy invited to participate with his

horse, Hidalgo, in a 3,000-mile horserace across the Arabian

Desert.

This premise is packed with potential, but unfortunately the

film fails to take advantage of its many opportunities for

greatness. It is far from a bad film, but it’s one that could have

been so much better.

Mortensen does the whole rugged-cowboy thing effortlessly and

Frank is actually surprisingly similar to his Aragorn character

from “The Lord of the Rings.” Both spend a lot of time on a horse

and both have a hidden lineage that proves important toward the end

of each film.

The movie is about a race, but as the movie went on, I

constantly had to remind myself this. The big event does not even

begin until a good 45 minutes into the film and once it does, the

participants seem to do a lot more sitting around resting, rather

than doing anything that might be considered actual racing.

Whether it is because Disney released it, or because director,

Joe Johnston, is responsible for such family-friendly fare as

“Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and “Jumanji,” “Hidalgo” is being

described as a family film, though it frequently pushes the

boundaries of PG-13 violence to the max. Characters are stabbed,

speared, beheaded, mauled and shot with gleeful abandon.

These scenes, however, are what save “Hidalgo” from being a

total bore. The film has a couple of thrilling action scenes, it’s

just too bad they’re so few and far between.

Race, gender and ethnicity are running themes throughout

“Hidalgo,” but that theme is never developed into any kind of

message. It seems more like the film simply uses them as an excuse

to portray its characters as clich�d and stereotypical as

possible.

Despite all of its flaws, I was still drawn into “Hidalgo’s”

premise and cared about its heroic duo. It could have been really

good, but just barely manages to be good enough.

3 out of 4

“Starsky & Hutch”

Real life pals, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, portray the ’70s TV

show cops as they try to bring down a drug dealer, played by Vince

Vaughn, in an underused role. Snoop Dogg plays Huggy Bear, a street

informant who helps the crime-fighting duo catch their man.

The movie is consistently amusing, though despite its talented

cast and director (Todd Philips, “Old School”), it only contains a

few genuine laugh-out-loud moments. A hilarious trailer ruined many

of the film’s best scenes. Thankfully, the movie does contain a

dance off sequence, a device that is no longer original, but has

yet to lose its comedic appeal.

Even without an abundance of big laughs, Stiller and Wilson are

perfectly cast. The movie’s best attribute, however, is its

impressive attention to detail in recreating the look of the

’70s.

2.5 out of 4

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