Rated R - Running time: 1:57 - Released 9/26/97

Author's Note: This is one of the ten movie reviews I wrote for the October 30, 1997 issue of The Republican, the first week my reviews were ever published there. Because of space and time requirements, these ten reviews had to be especially brief, some even shorter than this Author's Note. Someday I will re-view them and re-review them so as to provide a more in-depth commentary, but for now you'll just have to live with the short version. Sorry. --JRM
The vast majority of this adventure thriller is played out by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, and that's what makes it a better-than-average picture. Both give gutsy and real performances, each in his own style, each with a well-developed character. Charles Morse (Hopkins) is a socially awkward millionaire who has learned never to trust anyone claiming to be his friend. He dabbles in trivia, and has recently found a book about survival in the wilderness. Robert Green (Baldwin) is an arrogant fashion photographer on a shoot with Morse's wife, played by Elle Macpherson, who has convinced her stodgy husband to come along. The two men are not particularly fond of each other, but are soon stranded together on a side trip, and must put aside their differences to deal with a common dilemma: how to avoid being EATEN BY A BEAR. And you thought you had problems.

Despite a few unnecessary and irresponsible oversights from author David Mamet, like bogus instructions on how to find the North Star, this starts out to be an excellent story. But near the end it begins to break down a bit. It made sense for Morse to be irrationally paranoid about his beautiful wife and his stacks of cash, but when all his pathetic fears turn out to be justified, the credibility is lost. However, this does allow for a good lesson in humanity, contrary to those usually taught by Hollywood. Hopkins is not a hero because he kills all the evil forces surrounding him, but because he forgives them. ***½

Copyright 1997 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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