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Overall Rating
3.29

Awesome: 14.29%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average85.71%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 1 rating


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Silver Wolf
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by Scott Weinberg

"The three requirements of any teenage boy: Girlfriend, Snowboard, Wolf."
3 stars

With a host of ideas purchased wholesale from some much better family flicks, Silver Wolf would never win any awards for originality. But while it's worth mentioning that this movie doesn't offer much that's new, the flick as a whole is worth a look for pre-teens who A) love animals in general and wolves specifically and B) haven't seen a whole lot of movies yet.

I got this movie sent to me as a screener to review. I'd never even heard of this movie before, and that's always a cause for alarm. (Because get this, dear readers: I'm a movie super-freak.) When I logged on to my Bible (IMdb.com) to do a little movie research, I was intrigued to discover that Silver Wolf starred two actors I enjoy quite a bit: Michael Biehn (Aliens, The Terminator) and Roy Scheider (Jaws, Blue Thunder). Cool! Unsure of anything else (it could have been a comedy or an action flick for all I knew), I plunked the DVD in and gave it a spin.

The opening introduces us to Jesse, his Dad and Uncle Roy. Roy's a park ranger/helicopter pilot who drops the father and son off at the top of a beautiful mountain. After some really impressive skiing/snowboarding footage, a tragedy occurs and Dad goes a plummetin' down the mountain. Splat.

(This is not a spoiler as it occurs within the first 9 minutes of the movie. As always, my reviews are as spoiler-free as they are mentally deficient.)

Since Jesse and his Mom don't get along so well, Uncle Roy invites him to stay with him in his Park Ranger Log Cabin up in the mountains of Washington (as played by British Columbia). Almost immediately upon his arrival, Jesse:

1. Clashes with the local bullies.

2. Makes nice with a cute young lass named Lucy.

3. Stumbles upon an injured wolf, which he promptly decides to adopt and nurse back to health.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, good. It should. It seems that Lucy's dad is a rampant wolf-hater who often takes to the woods with his son (the aforementioned bully) to...well...shoot wolves. So let's check out the equation:

Uncle Roy, park ranger (animal wildlife protector) is uncle to snowboard aficionado and wolf sympathizer Jesse. Jesse has the adolescent hots for Lucy, who unfortunately has a Dad who likes to kill wolves and a Brother who likes to beat up on Jesse...and kill wolves.

Sounds like a sticky situation, huh? And I haven't even mentioned the big dog sled competition! Much of the film deals with the burgeoning friendship between Jesse and the recuperating wolf, whom he uncreatively dubs Silver. There are of course several opportunities for Jesse to run afoul of the anti-wolf bullies and prove his worth by staying loyal to his four-legged friend, while always finding time to do a little snowboarding and woo the lovely Lucy.

One truly noteworthy component of this one is the outdoor photography. The Canadian Rockies are displayed in gorgeous fashion and the snowboarding sequences are fantastic.

The performances are a mixed bag with Michael Biehn (as Uncle Roy) and Kimberley Warnat (as Lucy) faring the best. A veteran character actor, Biehn offers a solid, if unspectacular, job. Kim Warnat (Bingo!, Warriors of Virtue) shows a lot of charm and screen presence as Lucy, and apparently the filmmakers felt the same way, finding it necessary to dress the pretty 17-year old in some surprisingly 'cleavage-intensive' costumes. Strange move for a family flick, but it's not that bad. As Jesse, Shane Meier (The Quest, Needful Things) shows some fairly strong chops in a blandly written lead role. For sheer camp value, Roy Scheider is worth the rental alone. In his few scenes, he chews the scenery with reckless aplomb and seems to truly enjoy playing this one-dimensional authority figure with such holy fury. Roy's a real hoot here.

One third Old Yeller, one third Rocky and one third stunning snowboarding footage, Silver Wolf suffers in large part from a simple lack of originality. Yet there are enough strong components to give it a fair shot should it ever surface on TBS or the Fox Family Channel.

It's a simple little movie that probably won't challenge adult movie fans, but with its positive messages and only somewhat trite presentation, Silver Wolf is at the very least a film you won't mind your kids watching.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5572&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/10/01 11:48:44
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User Comments

1/03/05 liz i love it 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Sep-1998 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Peter Svatek

Written by
  Michael Amo

Cast
  Michael Biehn
  Roy Scheider
  Shane Meier
  Kimberley Warnat
  Lynda Boyd
  Ron Sauvé



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