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Fresh out of the Box!
on 8 June 2014
I suppose in this day and age one should be grateful for any new western that comes out, even an inferior made for TV one! Thank goodness for the Hallmark channel who seem to be singlehandedly keeping the genre alive. It is only a faint heartbeat of what once was, but at least it is still there! Hallmark are a family channel and so their westerns are of the ‘blue sky’ variety, with no room for any gritty realism. The actors all strut about in costumes and props that look as is if they have just come out of the box. Never mind, the very Zane Grey like titled “Shadow On the Mesa”, is a western and it is not all that bad!
Wes Brown plays the bounty hunter on the trail of the killers of his mother. The trail leads him to his embattled father who is embroiled in a battle to keep his land from a local rancher who will use any means to dispossess him. The bounty hunter has to decide just who the good guys are amidst a looming range war where his gun skills could come in mighty handy!
As you will gather from my brief synopsis there is nothing really new here. Old western plot devices are recycled in that age old range war scenario. Avaricious bad man wants other ranchers land. He is prepared to murder for it. Strong silent type rides in to the rescue. Gunplay ensues! It all has an almost comforting ring of familiarity to it, and one can’t dislike those old fashioned virtues. The actors are well cast in their roles with Wes Brown good in the lead role and Kevin Sorbo looking the part. Barry Corbin who memorably played the bumbling deputy Roscoe Brown in “Lonesome Dove” also has a small role.
I watched the movie on auto pilot to its conclusion and found it a pleasant enough way to pass the time, but with no highlights to capture the memory for long. Yet again I was left yearning for the old studio system of the past that churned out fine westerns off a seemingly endless production line. Not any more alas! Kevin Sorbo seems to have a true heart for westerns and is trying to finance more, including one of a more gritty variety that is too much for Hallmarks sensitive tastes. I wish him every success!