Hell's Gate is located in Possum Kingdom Lake, in Texas. Located in the middle of the lake, it is a sheer break between two cliffs. It is largely unknown how it came to be that way but this film provides a possible explanation.
John Tyree is a member of the US Army. Whilst on leave he meets a young woman called Savannah Lynn Curtis, the two fall in love almost instantly. The two spend all their time together before Jon is called back to the Army for a tour of service. The couple remain an item despite the lack of contact, both find themselves becoming dependent on their letters to one and other. 7 years down the line as their situations change Savannah finds herself engaged to another man. Now utterly depressed by the news John rushes into a dangerous situation and gets seriously injured. Eventually John is made to leave the army, he must get his real life back on track. How their separation will affect his life is a true testament to his will.
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And hey, it's not a bad idea. The problem is that The Hard Easy doesn't have any other ideas to sustain the other 95 minutes that don't involve the two gangs facing off. Director Ari Ryan practically admits this from the start. He opens with a snippet of the botched heist, then flashes back to how we got there, then we see the heist in all its glory. Those are some rocky times, alas. Try as he might to make Henry Thomas's lovable loser Paul into the hero we're supposed to root for, it doesn't really pan out. Thomas is a terrible choice for the role, in the end, a whiny loser and a bit of a jerk (and on the hook for countless gambling debts) that deserves what he has coming. The schlub on the other team: David Boreanaz, an odd choice who has substantially less screen time than Thomas but does little with what he gets.
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Walton's story -- based on his own book, which I can't find for sale anywhere, called, ahem, The Walton Experience -- goes like this: Six hard-drinkin' logger buddies encounter a red "fire in the sky" one night. They investigate and find a giant UFO in the woods, but Travis gets too close, and a light shining on him knocks him off his feet. The other five run away. When they come back the next day, Travis is nowhere to be found. The little Arizona town suspects homicide, and the FBI eventually swoops in. No one can find Travis -- or his remains. Is all the talk of UFOs a prank? When tempers threaten to flare out of control, Travis shows up again, six days later, naked, and shell-shocked. He finally tells what happens: He was abducted and tortured. And it was nasty.
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The rest of the cast is not so lucky. Henry Thomas (the kid from E.T.) still looks like he did ten years ago, Aidan Quinn is out of his league, Julia Ormond spends the majority of the film in tears, and even Anthony Hopkins has a dismal role, half of which he plays as a stroke victim.
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Billy Bob Thornton's latest film, which examines a Texas cowboy trying to find his dreams in 1949 Mexico, is a tale I might have been interested in. But like that lousy comedian, Thornton's delivery positively stinks. And, what's worse, I couldn't find the punch line anywhere.
Continue reading: All The Pretty Horses Review
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