24 May 2004 | Kelly G.
I don't think I've ever seen an opening shot sabotage a good film so badly before.
Raw Courage is good. Actually, when you compare it to the kind of dusty old VHS tapes slowly making their way into the trash bins in the dawn of the DVD era, it's REALLY good.
It's from that "fight for your life" subgenra of horror film, where everyday guys find themselves trapped somewhere away from civilizaion while being hunted by some kind of maniacs.
In this film, the victims are three cross country runners who have planned a trek through the desert. Eventually, they run across a squad of militia men who end up hunting them down after some taunting goes bad. As is the case with most films of this ilk, the hunted are used to symbolize different sides of Man's psychie. Ronny Cox is the slightly nebbish husband who dosent know what to do. While the other guy is an aggressive alpha mail, and the other other guy is a whiny brat who just wants to hide.
I suppose what I liked best about the film was that it always seemed probable. The protagonists never do anything outlandish like rig up a brilliant death trap out of rocks and sand. Their ways of fighting back are the same kind of simple things that you or I would probably think of if we were in the situation. And because of this, many of the scenes are quite thrilling since some of their plans don't always work (their attempt at stealing a horse).
The villians are pretty silly, and never really rise above the level of stock; While the film's literal "finish line" pushed my good will to the breaking point. But overall, I was happy I saw this one.
As for that opening scene: Fade in to a close up of Cox's waxy, brown foot, as his fingers dip into a creamy vat of Petroleum Jelly with a disgusting squish. Followed by about a good twenty seconds or so of him lovingly smearing and caressing the goop inbetween his stubby toes.
It's probably the most disgusting minutes of film I've ever seen.