Entry Level Low-budget Western…
Director Dustin Rikert, is no stranger to the Western genre or biker films, of which include, Thriftstore Cowboy, Ghost Rock, and the pointless follow-up to Easy Rider, Easy Rider: The Ride Back, all of which were far from great movies. Ambush at Dark Canyon is definitely a step up from those efforts and even provided a level of entertainment Rikert failed to give us with his other films. It tells the story of Marshall Duke Donovan (Kix Brooks), who was accused of being an accomplice in a bank robbery, and while in prison he learns his wife is going to be murdered by his ex partner. After avoiding being hanged but sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor, Duke busts out of the prison with fellow inmate Cyrus Parker (Ernie Hudson), to save his wife from Levi Hardin (Luke Massy).
The actual story begins in the 1920’s where some genuine photos of the robbery have surfaced and newspaper reporter Andrew W. Walker (Jesse Helms) being sent to try to persuade an old-timer who might know something and talk about the goings on of the bank robbery that happened in 1892. Jesse’s boss, Morgan Heinz (Brent Briscoe) has been trying to piece together what transpired during the robbery after finding photos that were taken during the robbery where six civilians, including a 6-year-old girl was killed. Jesse has been warned if he doesn’t get results he’ll be fired, thanks to Jesse always being late for work. Jesse goes to the home of Seymour Redfield (James Karen), who might have first hand knowledge of what transpired and also if the accused was indeed guilty.
The quality of the sets and the fine performances by everyone, made for decent viewing and I’d be lying if I said I was expecting anything remotely enjoyable about Ambush at Dark Canyon, especially with Dustin Rikert at the helm but this is arguably his best feature to date. There certainly wasn’t much to get excited over but it still entertained to a certain degree. I’m not a huge fan of Westerns, though a western is in my top three movies of all time. Namely, Clint Eastwood’s 1992, classic, Unforgiven, so I’m no stranger to the genre, however I am a fan of all film regardless of the subject matter. If Western’s are your thing then you’ll enjoy it far more than I.
Review by Ed Blackadder, Lead Entertainment Writer