The Plot – Frank Hopkins is a man running away from his past. Billed as the greatest rider of the West, he travels with Bill Cody’s Wild West Show wasting away in a drunken stupor. That is until an Arabian Sheik challenges him to enter the Ocean of Fire, a long distance race held once a year. Apparently, the Sheik is offended that an American would claim such a title as Best Rider especially considering that Frank’s horse is a mustang. Known as the mutt of horses, mustangs garner little respect compared to purebred horses. Reluctantly Frank enters the race with his horse Hidalgo and together they gather up the courage to face not only the hostile terrain of the Arabian desert, but their own troubled past.
The Review – Most of the reviews I had read about Hidalgo were pretty negative. Maybe I was in a jolly good mood, but I thought this picture was well done. Is the story unbelievable? Perhaps. Are the stunts outrageous? I don’t think they’re quite as overdone as an Arnold action picture. Is the pace too slow? Well, maybe if you what you’re looking for is nonstop adrenaline scenes.
This movie is about cheering for the underdog. About a man who has lost his way only to somehow find the inner strength to overcome his own shortcomings. I thought the cinematography was great and the action sequences weren’t completely over the top. And despite what critics have said, I didn’t think any of the fight scenes were too chop-socky (and I would know). Is it cliché? Yup. Is it predictable? Yup. Did I enjoy the film anyway? Yeah, but I cried when Old Yeller died too. Sometimes you just want to be entertained.
Grade: B+ (Chalk it up to the Love it or Hate it category)