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Lambert Garners Another Loser

Fri., Feb. 21, 1997, midnight

“North Star,” the second of two Christopher Lambert losers, had the dubious distinction of opening without benefit of a single display ad in the Sacramento Bee.

But “North Star,” which played Sacramento on a double bill with another Warner Bros. film, “Sleepers,” has more of a pedigree, if not much else in its favor. Co-starring James Caan as its wild-eyed villain, the film was directed by art-house favorite Nils Gaup (“The Pathfinder”) and is set in Nome, Alaska at the turn of the century, circa 1899.

Lambert, who possibly has the worst speaking voice of any modern action hero, plays a half-Indian, half-Caucasian hunter and trapper named Hudson Ipsehawk who owns the rights to a rich gold lode but who refuses to mine it because it’s considered the sacred land of his Inuit ancestors.

Doesn’t matter, though: Caan’s psychotic McLennon wants it real bad.

When McLennon moves in on Hudson, with the intent of killing him for the land, our hero takes flight with McLennon’s girlfriend (Catherine McCormack from “Braveheart”), a woman who can’t seem to see how evil her beau is.

The chase film that follows is enlivened only by Cann’s eccentric penchant for reciting Shakespeare at select intervals and by Lambert’s cartoon voice.

“North Star” is big on handsome vistas and violence but little else.

xxxx “North Star” Location: North Division Credits: Directed by Nils Gaup, starring Christopher Lambert, James Caan, Catherine McCormack and Burt Young Running time: 1:28 Rating: R



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