Really, you have to love the casting of Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson—two Irishmen—as Civil War vets sprinting across the Western plains, with Neeson the pursuer and Brosnan the pursued. The whole project, filled with familiar faces (Angie Harmon, Anjelica Huston, other “Hey, it’s that guy!” actors) in teensy roles, reeks of old-fashioned Big Studio entertainment—this could have been made sometime between, oh, 1953 and 1978, and danged if you (or your dad) wouldn’t watch it on late-night TV. Directed by a maker of—no surprise—TV procedurals (David Von Ancken), Seraphim Falls has decent pep in its step till the final 30 minutes, when it’s finally revealed why Neeson’s bounty hunter is after Brosnan’s surly mountain man. The flashback finale and all that comes after (and keeps on comin’) drags on so long even the leads look exhausted. Till then, it’s yet another replay of The Most Dangerous Game, and Brosnan and Neeson are game for it. The missus suggests Brosnan, who takes a dip in icy white water and treks from frigid mountaintops to arid deserts among his myriad deeds of derring-do, should have been paid a small fortune, since he “gets the shit beat out of him.” Neeson, too, is a credible hero—or is that villain? See, we’re never sure who’s who till the end, and even then Von Ancken ain’t achin’ to pick sides.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 16, 2007