An unusual Western, North Star
trades red rocks and green cactus for a landscape of spectral white, with dogsleds instead of horses and fur instead of rawhide. But there are always bullets, bad men, and saloon brawls! Christopher Lambert (Highlander
) stars as the half-Native American protagonist Hudson Saanteek, who is fighting to protect native lands from a predatory mining company led by Sean McLennon (James Caan) and his brutal right-hand man Reno (Burt Young, Rocky
). While escaping from McLennon's clutches, Saanteek is forced to kidnap McLennon's mistress, Sarah (Catherine McCormack, Dangerous Beauty
), launching a perilous chase through the frozen mountains of Alaska. Despite some moments of clumsy editing and a wooden performance by Lambert, North Star
has some surprising virtues--the Gold Rush setting gives the movie an uncommon look (helped by some superb cinematography) and the story, though conventional, moves along effectively. Caan and Young turn in solid performances (the bad guys always get the best scenes, after all) and McCormack is lovely and vulnerable. Not a great movie, but for fans of the Western genre, this is an intriguing entry, with some visually striking sequences. Directed by Norwegian filmmaker Nils Gaup, who also made the acclaimed original version of Pathfinder
. --Bret Fetzer
Nome, Alaska, in 1889 teems with new riches, but not for Hudson Santeek (Christopher Lambert of Highlander and Mortal Kombat). Hes run up against an unwritten Golden Rule: mining boss Sean McLennon (The Godfathers James Caan) has the gold and he makes the rules. In this wilderness action saga directed by Nils Gaup (Pathfinder), McLennon falsely claims the rich lode Hudson vows to protect because its on sacred Inuit land. Hudson has McLennons mistress (Catherine McCormack of Braveheart) taken hostage after McLennon and his murderous gang strike at him. Mushing through storms, clambering up glassy cliffs, hacking to the surface from beneath an ice-capped lake, Hudson scrambles to stay alive and lethal. McLennon may have firepower. But in North Star territory, its Hudsons fighting savvy thats good as gold.