Picks and Pans Review: The Black Stallion Returns

updated 04/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

"You are courageous to have come so far," the Berber chief tells teenager Kelly Reno. True enough. The boy has, after all, jumped onto a speeding truck driven by stallion-napping Arabs, stowed away on a plane from New York to Casablanca, nearly died of thirst, and trudged across miles of Sahara to catch up with the steed he starred with in the dark-horse movie success of 1979. This sequel is preposterous and slow but beautiful to look at. Director of photography Carlo Di Palma made the most of the Algerian, Italian and Moroccan locations, and a climactic intertribal race is a classic hoof-pounder. Most adults will have to rely on the visuals for entertainment, though. Reno, now 16, is less cuddly than he was in the original. Teri Garr returns as Reno's mother, but she has only about a minute of onscreen time. Newcomer Vincent Spano, as an Arab who befriends Reno, manages some warmth. And Cass Ole, who has the title role, is a performer of a different color, of course. He is a wonderfully photogenic animal, at least as expressive as a lot of actors these days. In his big race scene, it would be unfair to reveal who wins. Just remember what great riders kids can be when the fates and scriptwriters are on their side. Suffice it to say that The Black Stallion Goes to Hollywood remains a possibility. (PG)

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