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Rae Dawn Chong
It's hard to begin to describe how bad this movie is. While bringing great literature to the screen might not be the easiest of tasks, you would think the average production company couldn't go wrong with an action story. It's therefore remarkable - stunning, in fact - how completely this film fails on just about every level. It loses the audience from the get go, somehow managing to make a dangerous canoe trip down a roaring Niagara river as dull as ditch water.
The acting is woefully poor, with perhaps only Graham Greene approaching passable level. Most of the cast deliver their dialog so stiffly and with such tortured syntax (supposedly the writers felt it would be more authentic that way) that it's often hard to understand half of what is said, and impossible to care much anyway.
The whole production has the air of a reenactment, with none of the charm. This might even be an insult to the good folk who take pride in their amateur productions, because filming such a display would likely have resulted in a more engrossing film than this so-called professional effort. One of the very few plus points is that they used some authentic backdrops. It might have been better had they just had someone read a truncated version of the story over shots of the fort, river, lake, etc. On that point, the story is set up as being told as a bedtime story by a grandmother to two small children at a later date - a completely pointless and witless exercise, which does nothing but underline the idea that this film can lull the audience to sleep.
Added to the many technical failings are at least a couple of dubious continuity issues. The 18th century pistols sound like modern firearms when fired and the shots echo as if fired indoors while the characters are using the guns outdoors. In one scene, two characters tracking through the woods discover a shoe print that looks a little too much like a modern man's size 12.
Ultimately, this is a horrible film that should be avoided at all costs.
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