“A straightforward tale of revenge, Western style.”
In 1866, the young child Hannah Beaumont (Canning, best known for her role in The Vampire Diaries) watches as the rest of her family is slaughtered by outlaw Frank McMurphy (Pyper-Ferguson). Twelve years later, Hannah is now getting her long-awaited revenge. Having been trained to shoot, ride and collect the bounty on wanted men by Isom Dart (Danny Glover in a small role), she is now reeling in the members of McMurphy’s gang, one by one. When McMurphy hears about this, he gathers up his entire posse and rides to Hannah’s base in Dodge City to finish off what he started, a decade before. Can Hannah – with the aid of the town’s deputy marshal, Wyatt Earp (Holt) and her other friends, come out on top?
Well, there’s really not much doubt about that, this being a Hallmark Original Movie. Which means, as well as good winning out, there will be no sex or bad language, and severely restraint is exercised on the violence front. That said, knowing this going in will help defuse much sense of anticipation, and if you can get past the feeling this belongs to a far kinder, gentler age of cinema, it’s not a bad time-passer. Canning doesn’t quite look the part, being too willowy to be convincing, but that really only attracts the attention during the occasional hand-to-hand scene – firearms are a great equalizer for size and strength. She does manage to exude the required amount of steely determination, which is likely more important for this role.
Director Talalay’s name may be familiar to GWG fans; she directed the flop Tank Girl back in 1995. From the IMDB list, this looks to be her first return to the action heroine field since, and she has her moments, not least the first encounter between McMurphy’s gang and the very alone Hannah in Dodge City. Credit also to Kennedy, who plays Doc Holliday by shamelessly channeling Val Kilmer from Tombstone, yet still comes across as a memorable character. However, the presence of both Glover and Kimberly Elise as black gunslinger Stagecoach Mary, imply a racial blindness to the era that one suspects is more based on modern hopes than historical accuracy. Still, while the net result is not particularly memorable, and is clearly more interested in fulfilling expectations than confounding them, it succeeds in reaching its modest goals, in a way that some previous entries in the genre could only envy.
Dir: Rachel Talalay
Star: Sara Canning, Greyston Holt, John Pyper-Ferguson, Ryan Kennedy