A bear goes ham on two brothers, a deaf lady, and Billy Bob Thornton.
Directed by David Hackl
Starring James Marsden, Thomas Jane, and Piper Perabo
Review by Jon Kissel
I’m not talking about Jane’s Beckett or Thornton’s aforementioned bear hunter/psychologist, but the bear itself, here credited as Red Machine and ‘played’ by Bart the Bear 2. Into the Grizzly Maze has some solid bear acting, as much as that’s possible. Ol’ Bart makes a lot of interesting noises that I would believe were prompted out of him, and he has some impressive action shots for his reel, but all the credit for that goes to whoever Bart’s trainer is and not Hackl. Hackl’s responsible for the cheap look of the film that numerous shots of natural vistas can’t cover up for. He’s responsible for getting nothing out of a cast that includes Scott Glenn and Piper Perabo, playing deaf and also nose-blind thanks to how clumsily she steps into a rotting elk carcass.
To strain for praise aside from the presence of a well-trained bear, Into the Grizzly Maze contains just enough to save it from an F grade. I’m a sucker for gruff outdoorsmen hiding away their emotions and then letting them out in a private moment, even when it’s told secondhand by Marsden. I’d rather watch the movie about that period in his character’s life than this bear-on-a-tear tale. Thornton’s best moment comes when he runs out of bullets as the Red Machine charges at him, and Hackl has the minimal sense to just wait a few seconds and let Thornton register his impending death. I’m now out of praise. This sucked and was about nothing and belonged on the Syfy channel. At least some emirati or oligarch got to wash his cash through Hollywood. Good for them, but bad for everyone else that is even aware of this trash. D