Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
|Featuring:||James Marsden … Rowan
Michaela McManus … Kaley
Piper Perabo … Michelle
Billy Bob Thornton … Douglass
Thomas Jane … Beckett
Scott Glenn … Sully
Adam Beach … Johnny Cadillac
|Director:||David Hackl—“Saw V” (2008)|
Paul Schiff Productions
|Distributor:||Open Road Films
God created the world very good, and Alaska offers some breathtaking scenery. Sadly, ever since the fall, nature has been cruel, and the gorgeous wilderness is home to huge, deadly monsters—like grizzly bears. In this film, two brothers and their friends team up to kill a grizzly who is exceptionally smart, large, strong, and angry. And that’s the plot to this dark movie—hunting down the big bad bear.
The violence in this film, though strong, is not evil—it’s a survival thriller. It’s not for the faint of heart; however, it is almost exclusively nature violence. A dangerous woods and, of course, a hungry bear, cause bloody injuries that will be painful to look at for young or sensitive viewers. But most of the film is just suspense, as the characters track, run, and plan out their moves. There aren’t very many gory scenes, but the ones that are there are brutal. There is only one scene of man-on-man violence, and that is when a villain attempts to murder a man by shooting him. The victim, shot, but not killed, cuts the villain’s throat in self-defense. There are also a few fist fights that are quickly broken up—not very violent at all.
In an irritatingly unnecessary scene, a man meets a woman at a bar, dances with her, takes her to his hotel room, and they prepare to have sex—but then he suddenly changes his mind and decides not to. It could have been relieving to see him choose the right over the wrong—but the downside overpowers that out by showing breast nudity right in the audience’s face. It’s only for two seconds, but the woman’s naked torso fills up much of the screen.
Besides the nudity, the only offensive content is language (the fistfights are questionable, but they are frowned upon as indignant team members break them up). Around 15 f-words, 10 s-words, 10 misuses of God’s names, and 8 or so misuses of d**n and hell. The bear is called a son-of-a-b***h once.
The whole team knows their lives are in great danger and that they could easily be killed, and yet they choose to risk their lives for the sake of those in danger. It’s also good to see the teamwork in this movie, and how the characters care for, and never leave, each other.
There is some spectacular scenery, but there actually aren’t very many scenes with the bear. The violence is never visceral, but there are some severed limbs, large claw tears on a man’s face, and a woman’s leg being impaled on a branch. It’s not like a slasher movie; these things—just like the suspense—make hearts pound and make the audience excited for the hunters to shoot the bear and walk home victorious.
Sometimes the adventure is nerve-wracking; sometimes it’s amusing. Overall, it is exciting enough to entertain, but not much more than that. Disney’s “King of the Grizzlies,” though not nearly as intense, is an enjoyable film with similar scenery and very little objectionable content; you’ll be better off having seen that film instead of this one.
An interesting fact is that the film was originally rated PG-13, and the certifications for that rating did not include nudity. It appears the filmmakers said “Ya know, we should really put those bare breasts back in there. Even though it has nothing to do with the movie, it’d be cool (or hot)!” So they resubmitted the movie, and combining nudity with the language and violence pushed it into “R” territory.
So what’s my final statement on this film? Let me put it this way: the 90 minutes of adventure aren’t worth the two seconds of nudity.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
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