This family-friendly pick-up from Canada is dull enough to make parents and kids pine for upscale junk like Disney's IRON WILL. This scenario, lifted from the work of Jack London, begins in low gear and then shifts into neutral for most of its unexciting, but wholesome, running time.
In the Yukon, prospector Whip Gorman (Randy Quaid) combs the wilderness for a legendary lost lake filled with gold. Whip is in the company of explorer Paul Bel-Air (Aubert Pallascio), who subsequently takes a fatal fall off a mountain. Using the legacy of Paul's French-language diary, Whip piques
the interest of Paul's city-bred son Charles (Georges Corraface).
Arriving from France, the tenderfoot insists on searching for Lake Esperanza with Whip despite interference from explorer O'Malley (John Dunn-Hill) and fortune hunter Laura Flemming (Macha Grenon). O'Malley and Flemming trick the prospecting duo out of information, then abandon them. Fishing for
gold in the lake gets put on hold when a band of Native Americans capture Charles and Whip. Although Charles is diverted by a star-crossed romance with the chief's daughter, Kanata (Sandrine Holt), Whip dares an escape, aided by prodigal Laura. During a dogsled flight, Charles is recaptured but
Whip and Laura tear up the tundra. Breaking tribal vows, Kanata flees with Charles. She later dies of starvation. Remorseful, Laura and Whip rush back to rescue the frozen Charles who mournfully returns to Paris. Laura and Whip plan their upcoming marriage and further treasure-hunting adventures.
Stunningly photographed, LEGENDS OF THE NORTH has a storyline that appears to have been frozen in mid-production; the hack direction by Rene Manzor and uninspired performances by a disinterested cast do little to thaw it out. Mild amusement arises from Whip's encounters with adventuress Laura, and
bittersweet romance surfaces during Charles ill-fated courtship of the Indian princess. Aside from these oases of energy, LEGENDS OF THE NORTH is severely lacking in thrills.
Lacking the quick cutting and facile technique juvenile audiences have come to expect from mainstream Hollywood, the film will not have much appeal for sophisticated kids suffering from aesthetic deficit disorder. Grown-ups can ogle the scenery and recall how B-movies of the 1930s and 1940s
handled similar material with greater economy, sharper editing, and a more evident passion for moviemaking. Recycling old action plots may not require much imagination but it does require the kind of self-confident hucksterism and drive that is nowhere evident in LEGENDS OF THE
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: PG
- Review: This family-friendly pick-up from Canada is dull enough to make parents and kids pine for upscale junk like Disney's IRON WILL. This scenario, lifted from the work of Jack London, begins in low gear and then shifts into neutral for most of its unexciting,… (more)