Picks and Pans Review: In Pursuit of Honor
HBO (Sat, March 18, 8 p.m. ET)
It's 1935, and the future has just arrived at a godforsaken little Army base in Arizona. The cavalry is being phased out, and the armored division is rolling in (though the armor is essentially a few dinky one-man tanks that look like leftovers from the old Buck Rogers serials).
A handful of soldiers (led by Don Johnson and Craig Sheffer) refuses to stand by while a large herd of its horses is slaughtered down Mexico way. The soldiers steal the beasts and blaze a trail north, hotly pursued by a regiment that has orders to shoot on sight. The soporific climax has our herdsmen dashing to escape across the Canadian border with Army cannons poised to fire on them. I don't want to quibble, but weren't our pre-PETA heroes outside U.S. jurisdiction to start with? Why didn't they just stay in Mexico? What, the horses didn't speak Spanish?
The movie, directed by thirtysomething's Ken Olin, is based on a true story. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly interesting true story. Even an actor such as Kirk Douglas or Robert Redford would have had trouble handling a script this bombastic and barren. All Johnson can do is look off into the mid-distance and grimace. (Maybe those long days in the saddle didn't agree with him.) Rod Steiger dons jodhpurs and a remarkably variable accent for another in a recent string of strange supporting roles. Gabrielle Anwar and Bob Gunton costar.
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