The Burning Hills Review

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It’s time to look at an old Wild West film. This is the kind of adventure where the cops are long gone so it’s all up to one hero to save the day. Most modern films like this one can get a little tricky since it easily can become a very mean spirited affair. You see the villains murder a bunch of people and then the lead does the same to them. The films are meant for you to root for this kind of revenge since the villains need to get what’s coming to them, but it just ends up being a vicious cycle. That’s why these films were so much better back in the old days since the encounters didn’t even have to be violent or anything like that. It was just a classic Cops and Robbers game. As such, this film isn’t all that bad, although I still can’t say that it was very good either.

The film starts off with a guy doing some farm work. He’s been warned repeatedly that there are some bad people in the neighborhood who want him to get out. Our confident lead is confident that they won’t hurt him and to prove his point leaves his gun behind. The villains murder him and move on back to town. That’s when Trace walks in and sees what has happened. He vows revenge on the hooligans, but quickly learns that this may be too difficult a task. He is badly outnumbered and gets injured quite a lot. What can he do?

Considering that the town is basically filled with villains there really isn’t much that Trace can do. These old westerns are always a little interesting with all of the unspoken rules going around. Everybody has a gun, but nobody dares take the first shot since the quick draw may be a little too good on the opponent’s side. As a result there are a lot of staredowns and subtle threats. I’ll give Trace some props for being a fairly good shot. That being said, how did the villain not die when he was plugged twice? In a situation like that, this is exactly why you have to fire off multiple shots to make sure that they actually landed. Otherwise you have this kind of issue where the villain comes back for more. Trace was also doing well in that room so he probably could have picked off more of them 1 at a time. Eventually he would run out of bullets or they would get wise to the plan, but it would definitely thin out the ranks.

As it is, he does take an awful long time actually getting to the army base. He has to take frequent breaks and as I mentioned he does spend a great deal of the film being injured. Fortunately for him a girl named Maria is around. She tends to his wounds and decides to aid in his quest since her father was murdered by this guys a long time ago. It is quite personal for her now as you can probably imagine. She does a good job of sticking up for herself throughout the movie and even takes out a gun at one point. Unfortunately she did miss her shot, but the attempt is the important thing. Unfortunately we do get a very forced romance between her and Trace. You could probably feel that romance coming from a mile away. The romance could have been worse of course, but it just could have not been around as well and that would have been even better.

Aside from the main 2, another solid character was the head of the tracking squad. He seemed like a pretty reasonable character. While he is still a villain and lets the others do what they want for the most part, at least he doesn’t actively enjoy the murders like the others. He also doesn’t randomly try to destroy non targets as well. Naturally things don’t work out too well for him. The Indian tracker who was forced to help was also a fun character. He did his job, but at the end of the day he certainly do anything more than that and at the soonest opportunity he was ready to go back into town and mock the villains.

One custom that I’m glad was stopped was branding the horses. I don’t care f the characters believed themselves to be heroes or villains, the branding process seemed rather painful. It’s definitely not something that should have been done and while it may be hard to identify your horse otherwise, you gotta go for a different approach. The film did a good job of making sure most of the horses got away although one injured its leg which was unfortunate. Lets just keep the horses out of these films, they didn’t deserve to get mixed up in a war like this.

Overall, The film plays out this plot by the books. You can probably imagine how it’ll all go down, but it does a fair job of executing this story line. If the villains had been a little better that probably would have helped the movie out. As it stands, Maria’s family was also annoying as how they cowered whenever the villains would show up. There comes a time where you gotta stand up for yourself and these side characters could never quite get that. If you like these old westerns then you should check this film out. It’s fairly interesting.

Overall 5/10

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