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A soldier who deserted because of spiritual beliefs was tried and evaluated by four psychiatrists, and they all concluded that he was unable to distinguish right from wrong, so he was sentenced to a mental hospital. One day, he escapes and kidnaps them and leaves them all in the middle of the desert. Written by
After being freed in the middle of the desert, one of the first things Dr. Sam MacKenzie does is take off his shirt to cool down. Being a Park Ranger, he would know that is the worst thing to do. All the experts say the best thing to do is keep your clothes on, as the Sun will quickly burn your skin otherwise, adding to your difficulties. See more »
Survival thriller - watchable, competently made fare that never rises above nor falls below its station.
I saw Fleshburn on video. The picture on the video cover suggests that the film is some kind of post-apocalyptic B-movie, but in actual fact it's nothing of the sort. As it happens, Fleshburn is based on a novel by Brian (Death Wish) Garfield, and is an outdoor thriller akin to Deliverance, The Most Dangerous Game and Open Season (1974).
Navajo Indian and ex-Vietnam vet Clavin Duggai (Sonny Landham) has spent several years in a mental institution, having left a bunch of Indians to die in the desert over an argument about witchcraft (!) He escapes from the institution and sets about finding and kidnapping the four psychiatrists who recommended that he be sent there in the first place. First on his list is unhappily married couple Shirley (Karen Carlson) and Jay (Robert Chimento), followed by resourceful Sam (Steve Kanaly) and homosexual Earl (Macon McCalman). Having rounded up his victims, Duggai drives them off into the middle of the desert, where he abandons them. From a safe distance he watches as his four victims weaken physically and mentally in the unforgiving desert environment.
Fleshburn falls between two stools. It isn't quite fully-blown trash, nor yet is it a serious psychological study. Landham as the despicable Duggai isn't much of an actor, though his weak performance is counter-balanced by Kanaly's excellent work as the most gutsy of the victims (wonder why he was never a bigger star?) The film is interesting throughout, if never truly engrossing, and director George Gage manages to tell his story competently. The ending tries to be clever - a compromise rather than a confrontation - but it feels oddly unsatisfactory. All in all, Fleshburn is a passable film, never quite as good as it wants to be yet never so bad that it taxes one's patience.
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