Review: ‘Jericho’

Merlin Miller's unabashedly retrograde Western may please homevid viewers with a hankering for an old-fashioned, no-frills sagebrush saga, but handsomely photographed pic is mostly bland and isn't likely to gallop into many megaplex corrals.

Merlin Miller’s unabashedly retrograde Western may please homevid viewers with a hankering for an old-fashioned, no-frills sagebrush saga, but handsomely photographed pic is mostly bland and isn’t likely to gallop into many megaplex corrals.

Mark Valley is slightly stiff but modestly engaging as an amnesiac who’s dumped from a train and left for dead in the wake of a payroll robbery. He’s nursed back to health by Joshua (Leon Coffee), a deeply religious ex-slave who believes in turning the other cheek, then throwing a right hook. Joshua dubs the stranger Jericho and tries to help him unlock the secret of his past. As they ride together, however, they uncover clues that indicate Jericho is a fugitive wanted for killing a sheriff. Coming off as a throwback to Saturday matinee fare — there’s even a bunch of very non-P.C. Mexican banditos — this filmed-in-Texas indie occasionally recalls the lesser star vehicles of Audie Murphy or Randolph Scott. But those guys usually worked with directors who knew a thing about pacing and montage.

Jericho

Production

A Black Knight Prods. production. Produced by Merlin Miller, Gil Dorland. Executive producer, John Draper. Directed by Merlin Miller. Screenplay, Robert Avard Miller, Frank Dana Frankolino, George Leonard Briggs.

Crew

Camera (color) Jerry Holway; editor, Agustin Rexach Martin; music, Mark Haffner; production designer, Charles C. Ingram. Reviewed at Landmark Greenway 3 Theater, Houston, April 12, 2001. (In WorldFest/Houston Film Festival.) Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Mark Valley, Leon Coffee, R. Lee Ermey, Lisa Stewart, Mark Collie, Morgana Shaw, Buck Taylor, Kateri Walker.
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