14 May 2012 | Spikeopath
There's a reason they are called dog soldiers.
Last of the Dogmen is written and directed by Tab Murphy. It stars Tom Berenger, Barbara Hershey, Kurtwood Smith and Steve Reevis. Music is scored by David Arnold and cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub.
When three convicts escape from prison and head into the Montana mountains, the local law enforcer hires skillful tracker/bounty hunter Lewis Gates (Berenger) to go find them. What he finds is torn clothes, blood and an Indian arrow. After spying someone in the trees it leads Gates to an investigation on the possibility of a lost tribe of Cheyenne Indians living in the mountains.
A thoroughly enjoyable contemporary Western, even if it's cribbing clichés from a number of films and TV episodes of the past. Formula of story is simple, grizzled tracker man Berenger and prim anthropologist Hershey are poles apart, but into the mountains they go in search of a hidden tribe of Cheyenne. That they find them is a given, since the title says it all, but what unfolds is a burgeoning relationship between the two, while much understanding and soul searching involving the "alien" Cheyenne makes for a good chunk of the narrative. There's observations galore in here about the advancement of time, different cultures etc, and a nod to the Sand Creek Massacre, while a back story sub-plot involving Kurtwood Smith is deftly handled; if a little redundant in the grand scheme of things.
Anyone who has seen the likes of The African Queen, Dances With Wolves and the Twilight Zone Episode: A Hundred Yards Over The Rim, wont be particularly surprised by what transpires in eventuality. But Berenger and Hershey make for a nice duo to be in the company of, while Kip the dog steals the film from both of them! Though story is set in Montana, film was shot on location in Alberta and British Columbia, and here is the film's trump card, where Lindenlaub's photography is quite simply stunning. In fact his work, and that of Arnold, whose score darts in and out of the landscape, deserves to be in an "A" grade movie. It rounds out as very watchable, a professional picture that just about manages to sustain interest and good will for the two hours run time. 7/10