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Yellow Rock  rating

Review: written 2006

Wheezy Western limps to the finishing post [DVD]

Westerns have had a satisfying Renaissance over the last decade or two, making me more open minded to the lower budgeted end of the market. So seeing Michael Biehn in the lead role, I was tempted to watch Yellow Rock, a tale of a tracker being asked by a group of men to help them through Indian (Blackpaw) territory to find some relatives who have gone missing... of course, all is not as it seems to be. Alas, despite some apparently deliberate box-ticking when it came to plot points and features, this effort doesn't so much belie it's low budget as do everything possible to point it out. The photography is ok.. but there is little of interest being photographed, with `been there, seen that' locations, with nary a panoramic shot in sight. The story is hackneyed and the screenplay requires the actors to deliver some pretty awful lines. Maybe that's why no-one's heart seems to be in it. It ticks boxes in terms of its sympathy for the Indians and their culture, elements of style and wardrobe very obviously borrowed from other greater Westerns, themes of greed and loyalty.. and yet it draws the line from one to the other in such a contrived way you are left constantly reminded of the fact it is a movie. Instead of thinking `what will happen next - who will survive', you're thinking `why did the screenwriter think that was a believable line - I wonder where they hid the smoke machines in that scene..'. The scenes themselves don't always tie together, with some odd jarring editing making you wonder if the original idea has been meddled with post filming.

It's a shame, I love a good Western, and have a soft spot for Biehn as an actor..I wanted to like this. However, it's just sloppily made, a tired effort that wheezes its way to a perfunctory climax that wasn't worth the effort.

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