Last of the Dogmen (1995) Poster

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Under-rated: Good script, good performances, beautiful cinematography
escoles8 October 2000
HG Wells once recommended that writers of 'fantastic fiction' choose to break only one rule per story, to avoid stretching their readers willful suspension of disbelief to breaking. _Last of the Dogmen_ proves how well a story based on an implausible premise (traditional Cheyenne surviving in the mountains with their culture intact) can work if everything else is kept real. The action is realistic, and the characters are drawn honestly and allowed to behave in a natural, realistic manner.

As others have pointed out, it's a quiet little story as these stories go, and it's also one of Berenger's better performances; I feel as though I should bird-dog this director, because all the principles turn in good, nuanced work.

I recommend this movie as light or even moderate fare, with something for both romantics and adventurers.

(Curiously, as far as I can recall, the title is never explained in the film. 'Cheyenne' is a French corruption of a Blackfoot or Arikara word meaning "dog people", for the dogs the Cheyenne once used in preference to horses to haul their household goods between camps. The leading Cheyenne warrior society eventually adopted the name "dog men" or "dog soldiers" in defiance. The survivors depicted here would be the descendents of a dog soldier group and their families.)
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Awesome on the DVD Version
PrairieCal24 August 2003
This has been a favorite ever since it came out. But I was always confused as to why it was marred by the hokey, cornball, ridiculous Dukes of Hazzard narration that accompanied it.

Imagine my sheer joy this afternoon when I discovered the Director's Version on the DVD has eliminated that. Now it lives up to it's full potential ... one heck of a movie!

The cinematography and scenery in this film make it worthwhile in themselves. Throw in a little occasional humor, decent acting jobs, suspense, the ability to hold your interest, and you get a film that allows you to escape your cares and spend a couple hours in the paradise of the Canadian Rockies.

This is a must see for western fans, fans of the great out doors, and guys like me who're in love with Barbara Hershey.
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10/10
Completely and Utterly Magical
aesgaard4111 January 2001
This is a great movie! I've got to say it again: This is a great movie! I've never liked cowboy or Indian pictures, but this movie realisticly sets up a fantastic but simple premise that there are Indians still living in the wilderness. Tom Berringer discovers them with the help of Barbera Hershey while the sheriff played by Kurtwood Smith is looking for him. Smith, by the way, is now probably best known as the no-nonsense father on "That 70s Show." I also have to mention the dog who seems to get a lot of his own scenes. The Indians superficially look authentic and believable as does their history which is so grounded and set up before hand that they could almost be real. The scenery is probably the biggest star as much of the locales and views are too breath-taking to be real. This movie would have had Academy Award written all over it had it been released theatrically. This movie just goes to prove that Hollywood big shots really don't know what they are doing.
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10/10
Fantastic, but having a very true air about it
joeestlinbm12 February 2005
I have rarely seen a movie where certain scenes run chills down my spine.

One scene in particular is the one where Lillian, and Lewis, first encounter the Native Americans. They were so dynamically beautiful, as well an intimidating in their native costumes, and paint, and their horses were painted, and decorated to the hilt. This scene didn't only send chills up my spine, but much to the credit of Tab Murphy, it brought tears to my eyes, as also did other scenes in the movie.

Yellow Wolf, who was played by Steve Reevis, was I think aware of the changing world beyond his own, and up until now the only way he could prevent the outside world from infiltrating his own was to do away with its representatives, Which meant of course killing them. Modern technology was advancing, and it was inevitable that they would be discovered in time, unless someone they could trust from the outside world could help them. As the story ended, I hoped that Lillian, and Lewis, would be the trusted folks from that outside world who would be able to help keep their existence hidden.

A beautiful story with a beautiful cast. See it if you can. you won't be disappointed.
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Best of genre
hota22 January 1999
This is one of the best movies of its kind that I have ever seen. I am Northern Cheyenne and the premise of the movie is based, I believe, on the legend of the Lost band of Suthai ( a Cheyenne band) I particularly enjoyed seeing Eugene Black Bear (the old Cheyenne Chief) Eugene is a Cheyenne and a Sundance Priest in real life. The Cheyenne language was spoken well and accurately. I would enjoy seeing a sequel to this film.
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Berenger is the tired ole Bounty Hunter but -
dtrent-230 August 2000
The scenery steals the show in this film! It is beautiful! Berenger is a treat to watch here, too as a tired old bounty hunter with a faithful dog & a good horse. The ending is worth it, too. Anything with American Indian culture in it hits a warm spot. "The Original Americans" should always come out on top. (Hail Dances With Wolves!)

So go rent or buy this film for a fantastic treat of natural beauty in the woods.
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7/10
There's a reason they are called dog soldiers.
hitchcockthelegend14 May 2012
Last of the Dogmen is written and directed by Tab Murphy. It stars Tom Berenger, Barbara Hershey, Kurtwood Smith and Steve Reevis. Music is scored by David Arnold and cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub.

When three convicts escape from prison and head into the Montana mountains, the local law enforcer hires skillful tracker/bounty hunter Lewis Gates (Berenger) to go find them. What he finds is torn clothes, blood and an Indian arrow. After spying someone in the trees it leads Gates to an investigation on the possibility of a lost tribe of Cheyenne Indians living in the mountains.

A thoroughly enjoyable contemporary Western, even if it's cribbing clichés from a number of films and TV episodes of the past. Formula of story is simple, grizzled tracker man Berenger and prim anthropologist Hershey are poles apart, but into the mountains they go in search of a hidden tribe of Cheyenne. That they find them is a given, since the title says it all, but what unfolds is a burgeoning relationship between the two, while much understanding and soul searching involving the "alien" Cheyenne makes for a good chunk of the narrative. There's observations galore in here about the advancement of time, different cultures etc, and a nod to the Sand Creek Massacre, while a back story sub-plot involving Kurtwood Smith is deftly handled; if a little redundant in the grand scheme of things.

Anyone who has seen the likes of The African Queen, Dances With Wolves and the Twilight Zone Episode: A Hundred Yards Over The Rim, wont be particularly surprised by what transpires in eventuality. But Berenger and Hershey make for a nice duo to be in the company of, while Kip the dog steals the film from both of them! Though story is set in Montana, film was shot on location in Alberta and British Columbia, and here is the film's trump card, where Lindenlaub's photography is quite simply stunning. In fact his work, and that of Arnold, whose score darts in and out of the landscape, deserves to be in an "A" grade movie. It rounds out as very watchable, a professional picture that just about manages to sustain interest and good will for the two hours run time. 7/10
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8/10
A great modern times western
dstuller23 May 2000
This movie reminds me a lot of "Lost Horizon". The scenery is beautiful and anyone that's ever been up in that area can attest to it. It's both a chick flick and a guy's movie because of the great mix of emotion, excitement and action. A couple of things in the movie are a little hard to swallow, but so are a lot of things in James Bond or Indiana Jones pic's, and it never stopped anyone from liking them. Tape it or rent it if you haven't seen it, you won't be disappointed.
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7/10
Wilfred........I'm begging ya...........
boardwalk_angel31 October 2004
"Shutup...you!!" Fun.. modern, 'fantasy western'........with a great score..breathtaking scenery.....and wonderful sense of adventure. As an afterthought........the studio added a pointless narration by an uncredited Wilford Brimley.......arguably the most irritating..annoying..unnecessary voice over I've ever heard......this is called the Theatrical audio on the disc...& should be avoided like a week old plate of beans.

Before you play it..go to the 'Languages' section on the DVD..choose the Director's audio version...& enjoy this improbable little gem of a film.
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Unlikely premise, great movie
AirborneRanger3 September 2009
If you can get past the premise, this is a really good movie. It has all of the elements you could ask for. The cinematography is stunning. After seeing this movie, I started looking at real estate in Banff. There is romance with good and believable chemistry between the leads, well done and believable conflict between Gates and his father in law, humor, commentary on the American West in the form of a moral lecture, and the initial conflict between the two Alpha males that turns to respect and then friendship.

The unlikely star of the movie is really the dog; I don't know if that was intentional or not, but it will make you want to get a dog like that.

My favorite and most disturbing scene is the dream sequence. For better or worse, you can actually see our bloody history with the Indians playing out all over again. That perhaps is the most striking thing about this movie: You can really imagine that perhaps we have not moved forward as a society or culture when it comes to dealing with anything that we do not understand or refuse to learn about.
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10/10
The Best Movie Nobody Ever Heard Of!
dthor62313 August 2002
This movie was wonderful. It had all the elements of an Oscar contender. It had action, but was also humorous throughout. Scenes of violence were done tastefully and the only thing slightly objectionable might be a few swear words. A true family film. I own the video and have watched this movie at least 30 times.
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8/10
A Fable of the Wilderness
robert-temple-16 February 2009
As an Indian-lover and a dog-lover, what more could I want than 'Last of the Dogmen'? The best thing about the film is Zip the dog, played by Zip the dog. He is really something. This film was written and directed by Tab Murphy, and it is a tragedy that he has not directed another film since (and this was his first). He did an excellent job. Tom Berenger is superb as the rough cowboy type who rides out into the wilds, with his dog, as a tracker and bounty hunter. Berenger plays this role with particular intensity, as if it meant a lot to him and was not just a job of acting. Barbara Hershey is also excellent as the professor obsessed with Indians. The story is about the survival in a 'lost valley' in the Oxbow region of Montana (actually shot in Alberta, Canada, presumably because Montana is not wild enough anymore) of the descendants of a band of Cheyenne Indians called 'the dogmen'. A lot of real Indians are cast in the film, speaking genuine Cheyenne, as Barbara Hershey astonishingly does herself. These Cheyenne are living a traditional life just as they did in the 1840s, and Berenger and Hershey become hooked on this 'real life' and don't want to leave to go back to the falsities of 'civilisation'. This is a moving fable, dealing with the issues of the 'loss of the wild', the crushing of Native American culture by the unspeakable brutalities of white settlers, the betrayals of trust which deprived the Indians of their habitats, and the continuing psychological perversion of bitter people who want to stop the innocent enjoyment of life by shattering the dreams and the enforcement of degradation upon those too weak to protect themselves. Congratulations to Tab Murphy for this brave testament, and may he find other ways to continue bringing these messages to us, even if he has to rely on smoke signals.
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10/10
Wonderful Movie.. Wonderful DVD
luvtom-29 February 2000
I was thrilled to see this great film released on DVD. It's such a shame it wasn't given proper presentation when it was first released theatrically. They have done a fantastic job with the DVD. So many special features. The Director's cut, the featurettes, even a section on the authentic native American costumes, all give a fascinating insight into the difficulties in making a movie like this. My hat's off to Tab Murphy's writing and direction, and of course Tom Berenger (the perfect Lewis Gates)and Barbara Hershey. Thanks too, to HBO for producing a fine DVD.
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10/10
Too bad so few people have ever heard of this movie
JE411523 August 2004
I just watched this movie on a local TV channel tonight. I had never heard of it, but it is now officially my favorite film. I absolutely loved the story, the scenery, the acting - and Zip, the dog was marvelous. The movie has something for everyone. They should make a sequel with the same actors, but I would prefer one without the voice-over narrative.

I don't recall seeing many movies with Tom Berenger in them, but this is one that I will never forget. I really could fall for that man.

My advice: beg, borrow, buy, rent or steal this movie. It's definitely worth which ever route you choose to get it. I'm certain to look for "Last of the Dogmen" to add to my extensive collection of videos and DVDs. I only hope that I can find a captioned version.

I am going to tell everyone I know about this wonderful film.
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9/10
Stunning movie
Sjhm24 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is a stunning film. The scenery is a character in itself. Tom Berenger is completely convincing as the sometime bounty hunter, with a troubled relationship with the father of his deceased wife, scraping a living on the edge of the wilderness. Barbara Hershey plays her part with quiet understated grace. Everything about this story seems authentic. It is fulfilling as an adventure, as a romance, as a superior horse opera. The film makes some excellent points about the environment and cultural heritage without being too preachy. The uneasy juxtaposition of the old world, and the modern one, climaxing in the pursuit of Gates by the local law… A perfect piece of escapism for a long winter's night.
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9/10
Awesome movie
lilliandiane22 April 2011
This movie is in my top 10 movie list. It has a great story of 2 loners who find each other, yet their feelings grow in a slow, natural way, without the gratuitous sex that spoils many love stories. The feminist learns to let the shy guy make a move, and the widowed hero finds another strong, courageous woman he can love. The movie is also a celebration of a people and a way of life, many of us wish we could retreat to. The Indians refuse to be conquered and that in itself feels good. I completely disagree about the voice-over ruining the film, as one reviewer claims. It is extremely important to the story and even if it wasn't central to the plot, it gives the film a mythic quality. The scenery is breath-taking and all of the characters, including Zip and the little Indian girl are memorable and engaging.
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8/10
Move over Bigfoot. Cheyenne Dogmen are out there too
weezeralfalfa31 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
An interesting, if implausible, fantasy, seemingly as believable as finding a Bigfoot in these mountains. According to anthropologist Lillian(Barbara Hershey), all the members of the Cheyenne warrior society: The Dogmen, were thought to have been killed in a massacre by white cavalry, back in 1864. Thus when bounty hunter Lewis(Tom Berenger) comes up with an arrow he found in the nearby wilderness of Northwest Montana, anthropologist Lillian(Barbara Hershey) identifies it as a Dogmen replica, which can be bought in souvenir shops. But, given all the strange happening of his trip into these mountains, Lewis suspects it was made by real Dogmen. Lewis checks out the newspaper archives, and finds 17 people over the years mentioned as disappearing into this remote area. Also, he talked to a retired rail worker, who recalled catching an Indian boy long ago, who spoke no English, who escaped. I checked up on the history of the Dogmen society. Seems it was one of 6 Cheyenne military societies, all of which are still in existence. Thus, Lillian's statement that all were exterminated long ago, doesn't hold up. There just might be an undetected small group of Dogmen , who retreated to this forest, hoping that no white man would find it desirable.

The screenplay begins with a motive for Lewis to enter this difficult country. He's a bounty hunter, and 3 men escaped from the local penitentiary. Since he is an excellent horseman, and has a cattle-herding dog(Zip) to sniff out clues, he feels confident he can find them and bring them back, dead or alive. After several days, he does spot them from a distance. They are armed, thus he decides to wait for more daylight before continuing. Next day, he finds bits of their clothing here and there, but not them. He also finds the arrow I previously described.

Lewis finally talks Lillian into spending a few days with him looking for the escapees and any Dogmen. Lillian knows much about Cheyenne culture and their language, thus will be a great asset if they find any Dogmen. On the way, Zip and Lewis's horse save the pair from a drop from a cliff. Also, Lewis saves Lillian from being swept down a stream. They are shot at with a few arrows, but when Lillian speaks their language, their hostility is reduced. They are taken to a tunnel behind a large waterfall, and on to a small Cheyenne village beyond.

The chief's son is sick and asks Lewis to go get some white man's medicine. Lewis holds up a pharmacy, asking for penicillin, but the police are on his tail, and chase him all over the town, with various incidents, until he makes it into the forest, with a posse following him(just for a vial of penicillin!) This is the action highlight of the film. The medicine saves the chief's son. Meanwhile ,the posse is still looking for Lewis. The police chief has a grudge against him. He blames him for his daughter's death by drowning, when she fell off her horse and was swept away by the stream. Lewis decides he will ride out and give himself up. He is handcuffed; however, he bolts for freedom, into the cave behind the waterfall. The sheriff chases him into the tunnel, where Lewis had previously placed some old dynamite the Cheyenne had recovered from some intruders. He hoped to set off the dynamite with his rifle, but the sheriff got there too soon. So, a Cheyenne behind him sets off the dynamite with an arrow shot(Could that work?). The explosion blasts Lewis and the sheriff out of the tunnel and through the waterfall, to fall into the plunge pool. Lewis saves the Sheriff from drowning. Thus, the sheriff figures Lewis has made up for his failure to save his daughter. He decides to dismiss the rather trivial charge against Lewis for stealing that vial of penicillin.

When Lewis decided to give himself up to the sheriff, to avoid the sheriff finding the Cheyenne village, Lillian decided to stay at the village, saying this is the kind of life she always dreamed of living. Very surprisingly, Rip also decided to stay with the Cheyenne girl who had tended to him after he was shot with an arrow. Lillian and Lewis engage in a passionate kiss or two before he leaves, it not being clear if he would ever return, or spend a while in jail for his theft. See the movie to find out how things worked out. Their romance follows the very common formula of: girl hates boy initially, then warms up to him, and is passionately in love with him at film's end.

It takes a fair amount of suspended disbelieve to shallow this story. For instance, when the dynamite goes off in that tunnel, why weren't Lewis, the sheriff, and the Cheyenne blown to bits and buried under rock, instead of being blown out of the tunnel, let alone survive a long plunge into the plunge pool and manage to swim to shore. Nonetheless, this is an interesting story, and Lewis and Rip, especially, demonstrate a 'never give up' attitude throughout.

There is one scene that greatly puzzles me, that seems to have nothing to do with the subsequent happenings. There is a helicopter hovering over near the village, at night, with a search light scanning the area. Eventually, we hear a machine gun. In the same scene, there is a group of soldiers or police? cavalry, with rifles in hand, who eventually charge toward what? Is the latter a flash back to the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre?

Lots of great scenery of the Canadian Rockies , mostly

Presently available at you tube.
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10/10
Love this movie
hyattjenny1820 February 2021
This movie plays into the wish that the Native American People still lived as they once did.
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10/10
Tom Berenger Played his Part like it was his life story
Gloryous20 February 2006
I happened upon this movie on television. I think it was on A&E, it intrigued me because the story line was so unusual. It captured my attention in a sea of films that are all too much a like to be watchable. This movie riveted me to my seat, I did not want to miss any of the it. I watched it, and knew I had to rent it, because when the commercials came on I just wanted to be able to see it in its entirety without the ads. Barbara Hersey is very good in it as a Professor, and Tom Berenger as a sort of black sheep, a rebel of sorts, with a dog that he loves more then anything. He has lived his life out in the wilds and knows how to track, but he does not want to. All he wants is to be left alone. Barabara Hersey is a knowledgeable History Teacher that knows a lot about Indians, and is interested in artifacts unearthed. What could be two more unlikely pairs to find themselves interested in the same thing. His father-in-law hates his guts. A dark secret keeps them at odds. Tom Berengers life is a mess, and he has a loner reputation with the town that he inhabits. Mostly he keeps to himself till one day when he is pressured into tracking some convicts down. I do not want to tell more, go rent it, you will not be disappointed. There is just such a great story of mystery, and lost cultures, and hard feelings dispelled. Something to open up the wonder again for a far off time that most cannot hope to reach or see but get just a glimpse of it in this very fine film. I bought this film at Christmas time, I wanted it for my collection of great movies.
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10/10
Like the subject of the movie, a hidden gem
ccdesan2 October 2006
So much of what passes for movie entertainment nowadays is hard to digest, and it's hard to fathom why anyone would have spent money to produce it. One goes to the video store and has to comb through aisle after aisle of violent, gory, immodest, indecent trash... and then you find a movie like this. The cinematography alone would make this movie worth watching. Add a beautiful musical score, some very fine acting, and a captivating plot, and you have a rare experience... a movie with heart, that entertains, and which even delivers a message without being cloying or overbearing. This movie is a must see if you're looking for something better than the average offering.
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10/10
Excellent scenery
dbarnes-624 July 2004
I have seen this movie several times. It has a plot of what could have been and like the movie says, "What dreams are made of." At least for me that is what this movie is. I thought the narration was okay.

I love the scenery and even though it was not filmed in the USA it could have been. I own horses and ride quite a bit in country similar to this where I live. We even have many waterfalls in the area. Not quite as spectacular as the one in the movie, but..... When I feel the pressures of modern day living closing in on me I can watch this movie and then take off on one of my horses into the wilderness outside my back door and get away from everything except for an occasional, "Silver bird with a long white tail," overhead. When watching the movie I can almost smell the smells and hear the sounds of being in the wilderness. That's when I get the itch to feel my horse moving under me while riding through the thick forest.

I liked the, you know it is going to happen, love story and the idea of a Native American tribe surviving all those years without being found.

The American Paint horses use in the movie for the "Lost Tribe," were a special touch for me, since I own a Paint horse. Very nice choices of horseflesh! This movie was recommended to me by a Native American friend and I have recommended it to many other friends. Not one of them did not enjoy it. They all thought it was an excellent movie in every way.
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Dog
tedg7 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

I have a minor hobby of watching bad movies and discerning elements in the story that reflect the dynamics that produce the bad movie in the first place. For instance, the film business is a civilization consisting of moneymaking ordinariness. But there still are some original talents that live, hidden in the wilds. These are genuine people. Actually, these are people that Barbara Hershey has encountered on projects. I think she sincerely wants to be one of them.
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9/10
Once Upon a Time
LeonLouisRicci27 April 2013
Unseen, under-appreciated, and a Movie that defies explanation as to why it works so well because it shouldn't. It is a Fantasy/Western. How many of those have you seen? It takes a Twilight Zone type story and infuses it on a Modern Day Western Movie template and asks you to believe all this. You most likely will with gleeful abandon.

Because it is so charming and produced so well that it all comes together with an ease of confidence that is enticing and wonderful. The scenery is beautiful, the Characters are likable, it moves along with twists and turns and it is like a Classic Children's Story that can be enjoyed by Adults as well.

This is Family entertainment at its best. Never Corny, just thoughtful and it is an experience to behold. The Romance is playful, the Action is tough but not in a showy kind of Modern way. This is really a Fairy Tale. An adventure to one of those Lost Horizons of displaced people in a hidden land. Everything seems (sur)real here as two Cultures clash and just like in the Storybooks, everyone lives Happily Ever After......The End.
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10/10
A Wonderful Viewing Experience
mrmac914 November 2010
I love this film. The stunning locations and acting performances were superb. I have been an admirer of Barbara Hershey since her days as one of 'the Munroes' and in this film she does not disappoint. I met Tom Berenger when he came to Belfast and he seemed to be as grumpy a character as the one he portrays in the film. We are very similar that way! I remember reading about a group of native Americans who were not discovered until 1910 in northern California. The idea of a lost tribe being discovered grabs the imagination. I knew something of the background of the Cheyenne tribe from reading 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' and this is related in the film. I have watched the DVD many times and never get tired of it. There are so few films I can say that about.
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2/10
last of the dogs, you mean
Oosterhartbabe8 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Whoo, this is a bad one. I can't decide what was the worst part-the overacting, the horrible voice-over, the many pointless scenes, or the pompous smarmy 'oh, aren't they cute' attitude of both of the main characters towards the lost tribes people. Let's start, however, with the ever dreadful Tom Berenger. This guy is the Bud Lite of acting-not a lot of body, and missing much of the flavor. His morose tracker is so unlikable that after the first ten minutes you're praying that the Indians get him. And the good lady anthropologist is almost as bad. She is thoroughly annoying throughout the film. My least favorite scene of her has to be when she's riding away with the tribe at the end to study them. The look on her face is that of a professor who's just discovered an interesting new species of insect to study. It's plainly obvious that she doesn't think of these folks as real people. But then, they're never really presented as real people by the writer/director of this piece of crap. They're more like those wax dummies they have in museums to show kids how our ancestors lived their lives, rather than people with personalities of their own. Sure the costumes were pretty-but if I want to look at a caricature, I'll go to the museum and look at the wax dummies myself. Better than wasting two hours of my precious time on this horrible movie. I think my least favorite scene in this whole movie-and this was a toss up-was when Tommy boy shows off his riding skills by reaching down to snatch up his hat off the ground before jumping the hood of his father-in-law the sheriff's patrol car. A totally unnecessary and completely stupid scene. Of course, that pretty much sums up most of the scenes in the film.
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