For those fans wanting the elements that made the original Man From Snowy River film a hit, (breathtaking scenery, sweeping score, sweet romanticism and cracking action) this film really delivers. This story picks up a few years from the end of the first, Jim (Tom Burlinson) has been away gathering his fortune in a brood of stock horses. He returns to pick up where he left off with his pluckish well-bred sweetheart Jessica (played by Aussie divine lady Sigrid Thornton) who is still attempting to break out of her corseted upbringing on her feather's cattle station (Harrison is now played by American Brian Dennehy). The foil to Jim and character that shakes the plot is the well-to-do upper class snob Alistair Patton (Nicholas Eadie) who has his sights on Jessica. Add to the mix some social tension surrounding landholdings and the stallion with a bad attitude from the first film and that's the plot.
The best thing about this film is the acting. Tom Burlinson fits snugly into Jim's wide brim hat and laconic humour. Sigrid Thornton is a lovely heroine and the two manage some real chemistry on screen. Filling the solid shoes of Kirk Douglas was never going to be easy and Brian Dennehy stomps and shouts but never feels very authentic in this part.
The music is sweeping and lush and the cinematography could be a roll from a Victoria tourism reel. There are moment however that feel very self-indulgent, like the director wants just one more helicopter shot of the riders to show how gorgeous the landscape is without some personal human drama. A little more grit would have sufficed here, we are Aussie's, we can take it!! There are some very JAWSish moments with the stallion that defy belief. However the funny thing about this film is that in amongst some glaring clichés, there are some really inventive and touching scenes. Jim putting the saddle on the stallion (VERY Horse Whisperish before its time) Jim and Jessica setting up home, the fabulous scene where Jim shows up Alistair's riding with his trusty whip. I can see why this character is such an icon.
Altogether a very pleasing sequel. Here's hoping everyone involved wants to make another. the Man From Snowy River III: The CRAIGS. I'm sure we'd all love to see how Jim and Jessica are doing on their farm.
The Aussie DVD has a couple of extra scenes in it. Worthwhile if you are already a fan.