A good Norwegian Western
3rd-man | 07/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Now here is a film with an interesting pedigree. Based on a novel by American author Will Henry, set in Alaska, but filmed in Norway by a British-French-Norwegian-Italian production. Whew! And with a cast that includes James Caan, Christopher Lambert, Catherine McCormack, and Burt Young, this film is about as multinational as it gets. Not that this is in the least bit unusual. Nils Gaup, best known to most people as the director of THE PATHFINDER, serves up another outdoor adventure set in the Arctic. Though hardly on par with his earlier effort, NORTH STAR is still a decent film on its own. At less than 90 minutes it is a briskly paced and beautifully photgraphed western. Christopher Lambert is either as good or as bad as he ever was, depending on how you feel about him. The idea of him playing a half-white, half-Indian named Hudson Santeek may strike some as ridiculous, but I think he's perfectly acceptable. Opposite Lambert is James Caan as xenophobic town patriarch Sean McLennon, who chews up scenery like there's no tomorrow. The conflict between them over a cave rich in gold but sacred to the people who raised Santeek results in a flurry of chasing, shooting, stabbing, and even a wolf mauling. Given all this, the climax and finale come off as rushed and rather disappointing. I must also admit that I liked John Scott's score in the European version much more than Bruce Rowland's in the American version. But that's a personal bias. The production values and technical aspects of the film are fine, the scripting and acting side less so. A shame considering the cast involved(especially McCormack, who is given too little to do), not to mention co-writer Sergio Donati, whose previous credits include ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and THE BIG GUNDOWN. For all its flaws, NORTH START is still a good, solid, and enjoyable B-movie."
North Star Shines Bright
Steamboater | 03/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thoroughly enjoyed this film. At first, I thought it would be another cheapie with an artic theme or one of those Disney concoctions suitable for a teen crowd. Not so,. Production values are first rate. Burt Young never looked so good. James Caan plays the psycho greedy bad man sans black hat, and even Christopher Lambert comes off well as a half indian-half white trying to prevent Caan and company from stealing claims to the gold diggings. (Someone mentioned the voice-overs didn't match the lip syncs; I never noticed there was any lip syncing and I don't think there was.) This film is pure adventure from start to finish and one that's a bargain at the very cheap price it's listed for at Amazon."
Pleasant little story
Eileen Lewis | New London, WI USA | 06/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not a Western genre fan usually, but sometimes my husband coerces me into watching one with him. I was happy I sat down and spent the time on this one. Full of natural scenery and beauty and gritty recreation of 1890's Nome, Alaska it was a great story of the Native Americans honoring the earth, and the infestation of man, and what lengths some men will go to for the almighty dollar. Some parts of the story were sketchy, such as how did McClennen come to love 'Miss Sarah' so deeply and why did he worship her so much? Her character was not as developed as it could have been, but the writers didn't want to morph this into a 4 hr. movie like some guys do. McClennen's character, unfortunately, was not developed as I'd have like to seen, but it was still a good story.
I liked it."
Jeremy W. Forstadt | Pawtucket, RI | 11/10/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"James Caan plays Sean McLennon, a greedy land owner who starts grabbing up gold claims in 1899 Nome, Alaska through murder and intimidation. Christopher Lamber plays Hudson Saanteek, a half-breed indian who is fighting to keep the native people on one of the richest of these claims.
The movie is not spectacular, and it has been noted by others that Lambert's acting skills are notab;y less than those of Keanu Reeves. Caan's bad guy is played annoyingly smirky, and Burt Young does nothing to expand beyond his usual generic tough guy range. That being said, there is some nice photography of the frozen northern wild which is pleasing to the eye. Speaking of which, Catherine McCormack is also pleasant to look at, though ultimately I have to admit that the story is not terribly engaging.
Directed by Norwegian Nils Gaup and filmed in Norway with a largely Norwegian cast, NORTH STAR seems to get a little preachy on the racism side of things, which I don't mind as long as there is a story to back it up. Unfortunately, this movie falls considerably short.
Jeremy W. Forstadt"