Monday, May 3, 2010

'High Desert' suffers from low quality

High Desert (1993)
Starring: Edward B. Galinski, Ron Jason, and Alice Davidson
Director: Charles T. Lang
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

The homicidal leader of a motorcycle gang (Galinski) murders a camper and kidnaps his girlfriend (Davidson). Another biker (Jason) steps in with an attempt to rescue her.

"High Desert" is another one of those almost-decent films. It has an unspectacular but serviceable idea at its core that could have led to a Rambo vs. Rambo-type showdown (both the Good Biker and Bad Biker are Vietnam Vets), but instead we get run-time extending and budget-saving long sequences of hikes through a mountain forest, and we get a climax that isn't what it should have been (probably because it would have been too difficult for the amateur actors featured in the film to pull off, and possibly even too time and budget intensive) and that further ends up being unintentionally comic due to some very convenient stray bullets. (BTW, if anyone reading this knows John Kerry, tell him about this movie. He'd love it, because it features exactly the negative stereotype of Vietnam Vets that he helped popularize and that he built his political career on.)

The film is also marred by near-universal bad acting. Galinski, who needs to be the ultimate in meancing biker for this movie to work, seems like just another loudmouth jerk and everyone else comes across as if they're just running lines. The only exception to this is Ron Jason, who manages to get a bit of real acting in here and there. (It's probably no coincidence that he's the only actor involved with this project who has any other film credits whatsoever.)

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