Based on a true story, Hidalgo is about a horse of the same name and his owner Frank Hopkins. This is set during the time of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Hopkins is a half breed who just happens to have never lost a long distance race in America. Enter Sheikh Riyadh who claims he has the best horse in the world and the competition is on.
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Hopkins takes his trusty Mustang, Hidalgo, to race the race of all races: across the desert. Not being just your average testosterone race, folks die and there's side deviousness goin' on everywhere.
Viggo Mortensen is of course the lead role of Hopkins. Now, I gotta tell ya I had a hard time trying to imagine him in this role after getting used to him as Strider in the Lord of the Rings trilogy... but he pulled this off to my complete satisfaction. He plays Hopkins close to the bone.. very laid back and just a little bit ornery. He does what he needs to do.. and it's just always the right thing. He's just a good ol' boy. On top of the great acting job, Mortensen looks just damn fine in those tight pants and well worn boots. Oh baby.
Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago) is Sheikh Riyadh, breeder of the finest line of Arabians you'd ever care to lay eyes on. He's also very enamored of the cowboy life style.. and has the requisite beautiful daughter (Zuleikha Robinson) to boot. Sharif is a Hollywood icon and maintains that status in Hildago. He plays the Sheikh very dignified, yet with just the right amount of childlike wonder when it's called for.
As well as the cast did, the true star of this film is the horse. That is one good looking Mustang. A Mustang with personality. At times you will be convinced he's human. Now, I don't cringe much at movies.. but I cared so much about the Hopkins character and this horse that I felt pain when the horse got hurt. Serious pain. It's a fairly brief bit, but it got to me.
This one seemed a bit outside Director Joe Johnston's usual fair. He brought us Jurassic Park, October Sky, and Jumanji.. all of which I liked to varying degrees. I say Hidalgo is the best of the bunch thus far though.
I'm not saying this is flawless.. there are a few continuity issues here and there, but nothing major. For instance, at one point Hopkins takes off Hidalgo's saddle and jumps on.. a few seconds later you see them running and opps! There's that saddle.. oops there it ain't again! Not really a major issue, and I really don't think most folks will even notice. What I'm saying is I love this movie in spite of those flaws. The over all beauty of it and the storyline will win you out over the few minor errors.
Hidalgo runs 136 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for adventure violence and some mild innuendo. Hmm I'm saying any age at all.
So. I fear this one may lose a bit when it's released on DVD so do go see it now to get the full effect of the big screen. This one is worth it's admission price.
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