The animals out-act the humans cast in this mediocre environmental thriller about the advantages of being pals with wolves.
Abandoning a financially unsatisfying career as a Miami paramedic, Blackie (Darren Dalton) flies to the icy Alaskan lands inherited by his family under a Russian land grant. His sister Barbara (Kristen Hocking) has become romantically involved with forest ranger Connors (John Furey), a henchman of
greedy entrepreneur King (Raimund Harmstorf). Barbara is willing to sell the family land, but Blackie won't comply.
King has been using the heirs' land as a lucrative toxic dump. Not counting on tenderfoot Blackie making waves like previous troublemakers, the greedy developer saddles him with an Indian guide, Chilkoot (Ben Cardinal), to keep Blackie far from environmentally unfriendly secrets.
While Connors tries to coax Barbara into signing away her inheritance for a quick pay-off, Blackie bonds with alcoholic Chilkoot and re-evaluates his feeling toward his new Alaskan property. Transformed by the land's beauty, Blackie helps an injured wolf, who returns the favor by pointing out the
location of King's dumpsite. An attack on the toxic chemical haulers launches a full-scale war in which Blackie is hurt, but saved by the wolves.
A take-charge Chilkoot orders Connors to fly Barbara to safety in Fairbanks, but the ranger is killed by King's men. Recovered from his wound, Blackie rescues his sister while Chilkoot eliminates the despoiler's henchmen before succumbing to King's rifle blast. Before King can hunt down Blackie
and Barbara, Blackie's wolf pal rips the wicked hunter's throat to shreds right after King's bulletry sets fire to the chemical waste. Blackie decides to manage the family inheritance as a wildlife preserve.
THE WOLVES offers many portentious themes, including modern man's selling out the environment and the absolute necessity of respecting the rights of wildlife. Dramatic tension, however, is low. Additionally, the film's battle scenes are second-rate, and the path of Blackie's self-realization
appears too smooth and easy. Reassuringly running its course, the film's predictability isn't as big a drawback as its amateurish performances. Adequate in their quieter moments, Dalton and Hocking shout their sibling rivalry with childish zeal. But at least their noisy "acting" alerts the viewer
to successive mini-climaxes, keeping spectators in a scrappy frame of mind. (Graphic violence, adult situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: The animals out-act the humans cast in this mediocre environmental thriller about the advantages of being pals with wolves. Abandoning a financially unsatisfying career as a Miami paramedic, Blackie (Darren Dalton) flies to the icy Alaskan lands inherited… (more)