Crossfire Trail
R1 - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (12th June 2008).
The Film

After starting a (absurdly small) mutiny on a ship after the death of his very good friend, Rafe Convington (Tom Selleck) high-tails it out the boat and settles in a small town, ready to disappear. This wouldn't be much of a movie if trouble didn't manage to find him just after he wants a happy life. What happens after that isn't too important, but suffice to say that he does good, and tries to stop the bad guys.

The movie is part revenge story, part romance, but all western. Had it been made 50 years prior, it would have starred John Wayne. It involves a fair-haired maiden, played simply by Virginia Madsen, a rich industrialist-type, played by Mark Harmon, some Native Americans and good old gunplay. Everything in the movie revolves somewhat around the fellow that died in the first minute of the movie. More specifically, around his widow and the 30-some-odd thousand acres of land she inherited. You see, the industrialist type wants the land for its money, but Mr. Covington seems to be fond of the lady that owns the land.

In true Western fashion, the movie has a final showdown, oil, lots of horses, a few fistfights and a dark killer hired to, well, kill. It's pretty easy to figure out who he's trying to kill, and in all honesty, it's pretty easy to figure out what will happen in the end. People will die, people will be sad, people will be happy. There's nothing new to add. It basically just adds to the vast western genre. Knowing that the movie is based on a book by prolific author Louis L'Amour may explain a few things.

The final shootout is well staged and fairly nicely-shot. There's also a fair amount of blood for a television movie. The production values are likewise pretty good, never really looking like a television movie, save for one or two shots. Director Simon Wincer keeps things rolling and keeps things simple. He and Tom Selleck teamed for a few westerns and this is a nice example of that.

Video

1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture isn't as nice as the sound, but it's not too shabby. The whole transfer looks a bit flat, with contrast not being as full as it should be. The colours are pretty accurate, though, with the level of detail being pretty good. Skin tones are nice, though may seem a bit too wan or red in one or two scenes. The print seems clear of any specks and scratches, which is always a plus. The black level is pretty stong, as well. I donít really have too much to complain about.

Audio

The only audio track is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. The track is very good. The dialogue is loud and clear. The score subtly seeps in the background and the hooves sound pretty natural on the dust. The gunshots have a very nice boomy quality to them, which adds a lot of character to the guns. It's a nice thing to hear, especially in a stereo track. Ther isn't much separation across the front, but the volume levels are well balanced. It's a nice track and I have no real complaints with it.
English and French subtitles are provided for those who want them.

Extras

With Cast & Crew, actors Tom Selleck, Virginia Madsen, Wilford Brimley and director Simon Wincer have short filmographies, while the rest of the main cast and crew are simply listed.

Overall

The Film: B- Video: B- Audio: B Extras: F Overall: C

 


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