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José Luis Alfonzo,
Join in one boy's heroic adventure as he fights in the struggle for freedom on the American frontier. James Todd is a young boy growing up in the hostile American wilderness-a rugged and dangerous land also inhabited by the American Indians. His peaceful life is shattered when the treacherous British troops suddenly storm through the countryside in an attempt to crush the American Revolution. During the battle for freedom, James is ruthlessly captured and held prisoner in the enemy fort by the brutal Major Smythe. But his bravery seems without limits as an unlikely and legendary alliance is forged with the neighboring Indians in a bold and fearless rescue effort. It is a rugged and wondrous adventure which culminates as the fortress is infiltrated and James narrowly escapes to lead the spirited fight against the British Red Coats. Written by
Made With Good Intentions But With Too Many Shortcomings.
Strikingly beautiful scenery, photographed well, is the long suit of this low budget independent affair filmed for the most part in Ontario and upper New York State, but even its targeted audience of young children will not fail to notice a lack of realism that pervades this work intended to produce dramatic historic interest, while hampered by a script that generally ignores the demands of logic. Director/producer/screenwriter J. Christian Ingvordsen (as John Christian) plays Samuel Todd, a wilderness farmer during the period of the American Revolution persuaded to enlist with Colonial rebels in defense of Patriot lands against attacks from soldiers of the Crown, reluctantly leaving behind his wife and young son James, but after he discovers that the boy has been captured by British troops along with their Mohawk Indian allies Samuel, accompanied by Tekhane (John Weiner) leader of a local Delaware tribe termed here Lenape, from their language, sets out to rescue the lad from enemy held Fort Niagara. This is a large order for the pair to attempt as the English and Mohawk occupied fort houses James as a shackled prisoner within the compound jail (restored Fort Ticonderoga along the New York/Vermont border serves as Fort Niagara), but the more gullible viewers will enjoy the splendid countryside while ignoring the many implausibilities that occur along the way, in particular those involving ineffective enemy troops and their accompanying Indian warriors, all of whom are loud enough but seemingly never capable or alert. Ingvordsen, under variations of his name, not only stars, scripts, and directs here, but is behind the camera and a vigorous stunt performer as well, and while he lacks expressivity as an actor, he is certainly as competent as the majority of the cast, a quaint lot, specially the "Indians" which, although decidedly culturally diverse with a broad displacement of races, and ancestries to boot, display very little that is representative of the aboriginal. The dialogue lacks a colonial flavour, and inaccuracies are rife, e.g., James is sequestered in "the brig", a term exclusive to seagoing vessels, while accents freely wax and wane, largely reliant upon the native strength of a player's metropolitan area patois, and there is cartoonish stereotyping throughout, notably of English army officers, drawn as a remarkably foppish bunch; a lack of correctness extends even to the DVD box that displays a misspelling for Niagara, thrice for Ingvordsen, and a cover photograph of Dan Haggerty (billed first but with a blessedly small role) with arms about an Indian squaw and a young boy, neither of whom appear in the film.
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