Hidalgo
2004
Frank T. Hopkins, reputed to be one of the best riders in the Wild West, gets a chance to prove his talent when an affluent sheik invites him to join one of the most grueling races of all: a 3,000-mile trek across the Arabian Desert.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

The usual quibbles over accuracy surrounded this film upon its release, and the untold story is just how many of the amazing elements of the tale were true. But regardless of the story's origin, it's a brilliant notion for an adventure film, albeit one with racial overtones that play awkwardly among contemporary politics. Reliable action director Joe Johnston delivers another competent thrill-ride that conceals most of its considerable visual effects in plain view, and Viggo Mortenson is more than up to the task of revealing his hero's wounded soul. My favorite element was the showcase of recognizeable character actors in bit parts, including a real treat as the aloof Major Davenport. The film as a whole is simultaneously too long and too simple, but it's solid entertainment for anyone who has fond memories of Indiana Jones.

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