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North Star

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

North Star

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: James Caan, Christopher Lambert, Catherine McCormack, Burt Young, Jacques Francois
  • Directors: Nils Gaup
  • Writers: Sergio Donati, Lorenzo Donati, Paul Ohl
  • Producers: Christopher Lambert, Anne Francois
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O2UTS6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,043 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "North Star" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
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.
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Format: DVD
"The North Star" is a 1996 film about the struggles between natives, Americans, and foreigners to control the gold fields in Alaska at the end of the 19th Century. It stars Christopher Lambert, James Caan, and Catherine McCormack and was directed by Norwegian Nils Gaup and produced by a joint French, British, Italian, and Norwegian group.

Christopher Lambert (1957) is best known for his "Highlander" films but personally I thought his best performance was as Tarzan in "Greystoke" (1984). To younger viewers he is best known for his work in "Mortal Combat" (1995). He won the French Oscar in 1986 for "Subway". He says "the main purpose for doing what I'm doing is the passion in the work." Lambert plays a half breed who is trying to protect the land for his clan.

James Caan (1940) is best known as Sonny Corleone, the role for which he received an Oscar nomination in 1973. Over more than 100 roles he's been nominated for a Golden Globe 4 times and for an Emmy once. From 2003 to 2007 he had his own TV series, "Las Vegas". Caan plays a greedy land owner.

You'll remember Catherine McCormack's stoic yet beautiful face from "Braveheart" (1995) where she played the doomed wife of Mel Gibson. McCormack plays Caan's girlfriend who is kidnapped by Lambert (reminiscent of "Valdez is Coming").

The marvelously funny and simultaneously tough Burt Young (1940) plays Caan's henchman.. We know him best from the "Rocky" films for which he received an Oscar nomination in 1977. Young has been in more than 100 films, including notable roles in "The Killer Elite" (1975) and "Once Upon a Time in America" (1984). FWIW - Young was up for the role of Sonny Corleone, but Caan got it.
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Format: VHS Tape
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
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