Lone Hero (2002)- * *
Directed by: Ken Sanzel
Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Sean Patrick Flanery, Mark Metcalf, Hugh Dillon, and Robert Forster
In the small town of Profit, Montana, a group of guys - John (Flanery), Gus (Forster), Harris (Metcalf), and others are actors who put on Wild West shows for the viewing public. Amongst an old-fashioned Western town, they have shootouts and brawls, and the assembled crowds applaud when the no-good varmints fall down in the street. Intruding upon their little world is a gang of biker baddies, led by the evil Bart (LDP). They invade the town and proceed to cause all sorts of havoc. While merely an actor in the live shows, John takes it upon himself to transcend his role as the lawman, and become a LONE HERO in real life. Naturally, the stage is set for the final showdown between John and Bart. Who will be the real quick-draw man when the game is played for keeps?
Lone Hero is a humble, well-meaning throwback to the westerns of yore. It's immediately apparent that it's a low budget, shot-in-Canada affair, which certainly aren't bad things. But it is a bit surprising that with some real names in the cast - Forster, LDP, Flanery, and, to a certain extent, Metcalf - that is has such a cheapjack look to it. But the real problem is that it's all a bit pedestrian - there are moments when it slows to a crawl and becomes quite dull. There are a couple of action scenes peppered throughout, but the ending is pretty lame. It's almost like the movie can't get out of its own way.
If you're going to see one movie directed by Ken Sanzel, see Scarred City (1998), his directorial debut. It has a bit more pep in its step. Just as how he got Chazz Palminteri and Stephen Baldwin fresh off their The Usual Suspects (1995) success for that film, here he got Robert Forster after Jackie Brown (1997). That must be Sanzel's thing: get actors who are just coming off some surprise success to be in his DTV productions. Well, it worked for us.
The box art is pretty misleading. It leads potential renters or owners - or, in any case, viewers - to believe that LDP is going to be the Lone Hero. He's not; Flanery is. It was nice to see Phillips revel in his baddie role, and as much as we are devoted Robert Forster fans, without Phillips's performance, this would be dullsville, man.
That being said, if at any point in the proceedings Mark Metcalf got in Phillips's face and screamed, "What do you want to DO with your life!!??!!!!!", we'd give the movie five stars. And we're only on a four-star ratings system.
Because it's a City Heat production, Lone Hero was likely found languishing on the shelves at Blockbusters across the nation.
Despite everyone's best intentions, Lone Hero never really ignites into anything that inspires the viewer.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty