Hard Ground (TV Movie 2003) Poster

(2003 TV Movie)

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One terrific Western!
grafxman20 August 2003
I didn't think really good Westerns were made any more but I gave this one 9 out of 10. It's that good and, incredibly enough, it's made for TV!

A word of warning however, this film is quite violent. In fact it's the most violent film I've ever seen on the Hallmark Channel.

Burt Reynolds and Bruce Dern play friends/enemies/brothers in law as they track down and kill an extremely savage man who murders men, women and children any time he feels like it which is often. He's supported by a gang of bad guys and a corrupt Mexican general.

The film has it's share of colorful characters as well as Amy Jo Johnson for some female interest. She packs a 10 gauge double barreled shotgun.
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The "Lonesome Dove" legend brought into the 20th Century...
Florida216 November 2007
The movie seems to be another one of Producer Robert Halmi Jr.'s "follow-up films" to his work in the legendary "Lonesome Dove" series, and, in fact, the time line of this film brings the entire Lonesome Dove era up and into the 20th Century (or just into the new century, in the year 1901).

The pursuit of Billy Bucklin aside, the movie does have a similar Lonesome Dove feel to it, especially when it comes to the unfinished relationship of John McKay and Joshua - similar to that of Woodruff Call and Newt in the first Lonesome Dove film.

However, while not directly related to the story's ending, the film does illustrate how individuals in that period of American history, similar to men like Call - and McKay and Hutchinson - were now discovering in their later years, that their feelings for the American West had become ironically similar to those of the Native Americans they helped to displace - that the wild, unclaimed vast landscape, much to their sadness or even anger, had begun to disappear into history.

Unfortunately, viewers who decided to abandon the last few minutes of this film (once the gunfire ended) missed McKay's parting words on this subject, which might give meaning to many older Americans who feel similarly when it comes to life 100 years later, in the early 21st Century...
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Rintrah2328 April 2005
Hard Ground is a terribly generic made for TV western. The acting is atrocious all around. Reynolds, who I thought would be good in a western, is bland and boring. The whole cast sucks actually. The shotgun wielding girl came across as absurd and badly casted. As did several other characters,only less so. Maybe the script's to blame. My main issue was the movie never felt real. It felt staged. Actors in period costumes saying their lines is all I could see on the screen. This is a Hallmark western. Due to the excellent Lonesome Dove and the positive comments and decent rating here , I rented this. Don't make the same mistake.
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shallow acting
paulritz200430 April 2005
For two big screen greats like Burt Reynolds and Bruce Dern, this was an extremely disappointing movie. Knowing this was a Hallmark film I expected more and got less than I ever thought I would. Speaking of Hallmark, this movie had all the hallmarks of a typical shoot em up, save the girl, ride off with perceived grandiose but corny parting words of wisdom, and ride into the sunset visual clichés that Westerns of the 1960's and 70's over-used. If I were Reynolds or Dern I would be ashamed to show my face after viewing this stinker. If these two actors were any younger this movie would definitely be a career sinker from which they could never rebound.
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Gritty Looking Like A Spaghetti Western
zardoz-1320 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Hard Ground" is a predictable, but atmospheric, made-for-television, turn-of-the-century oater that co-stars Burt Reynolds and Bruce Dern. This passable low-budget western takes place on the trail with our venerable leads pursuing a homicidal maniac who is as treacherous as a sidewinder. Villainous Billy Bucklin (television thespian David Figlioli) and his best friend Floyd (Martin Kove of "The Karate Kid") hold up an army payroll, kill the escort, head south, and try to assemble an army in Mexico. Former bounty hunter John 'Chill' McKay (Burt Reynolds of "Hooper") and Sheriff Hutch Hutchinson (Bruce Dern of "Nebraska") are brothers-in-law. McKay married Hutch's sister. McKay is riding in a tumbleweed wagon to serve time in Yuma with the obnoxious Bucklin when the latter's henchmen ambush the prison wagon. Floyd gets the keys off the dead guard and releases Bucklin. McKay refuses to join him these desperadoes. Meantime, McKay's son Joshua (Seth Peterson of "Godzilla") hits the trail to track down Bucklin's gang. He corners two of them at the remote trading post and kills them. This is probably as cool as this western gets. Joshua trudges into the place with his saddle in his arms complaining about his stove-in horse. Bucklin's two gun hands see it as an opportunity to kill Joshua, but he surprises them. He has used the saddle to hide his six-gun, and he plugs both of them. He runs into a beleaguered woman, Elizabeth Kennedy (Amy Jo Johnson of "Tiger Eyes"), who eventually follows them with a shotgun. Ultimately, our heroes confront Bucklin and his men and shoot it out. As often as the men try to run off Elizabeth, she provides more resourceful than they imagined. Predictably, during the finale, Bucklin takes Elizabeth hostage and threatens to kill not only her but also Joshua. Burt Reynolds and Bruce Dern ride side by side throughout this sage-brusher instead of popping up in cameos. David Figlioli makes a tolerable villain. Director Fred C. Dobbs—what a name considering "The Treasure of Sierra Madre"—invokes the credo of "The Wild Bunch" and several other 1960s and 1970s horse operas about men out of time and place. Strictly routine all around with bland desert scenery, "Hard Ground" qualifies as more gritty than memorable. Technically, the hardware is all correct, and Burt cuts a trim figure in his western apparel. Martin Kove is okay, too. Although several men are shot and killed, this Hallmark western isn't blood-splattered stuff.
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Beats 'reality' shows
Randybuckner15 August 2010
An average oater, with some nice scenery. This movie at its worst is better than 'reality' shows at their best. Worth a look while you work on your laptop. Bruce Dern is believable, if not memorable. Burt Reynolds always does a good job, and does not get the recognition he deserves. Martin Kove proves he is one of the top character actors around. Amy Jo Johnson didn't work at all -- maybe if the makeup artist had dirtied her up a bit instead of keeping her a fashion plate, she may have worked out better, but I doubt it. David Figlioli seemed like he tried to hard to be a bad guy. Maybe he should stick with movies like Rock Monster, where overplaying the role can be overlooked.
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artzau20 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
OK. Two vets here, Dern and Reynolds. Two kids, Johnson and Peterson and a pair of villains, Figlioli and Kove and a terrible script. The sad thing about this parody of a western is they could have used Dern and Reynolds to much better use. Even the kids have some spark but the script is terrible and the villainous bad guys with no redeeming features whatsoever are just cardboard caricatures of evil. Alas, nothing works. The writers who put this terrible piece of entertainment together should be jailed and made to read Louis L'Amour, Zane Gray and Luke Short westerns. The leering villains, the stereotyped Mexican revolutionaries and the no-man's land bad guys are absolutely unbelievable. Even the sound effects with the constant whinnies of the horses are irritating. Nothing is believable and nothing works. What a disappointment and what a waste of talent of veteran performers Dern and Reynolds.
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A Great Western Movie.
Terryfan1 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I rented this movie because Burt Reynolds is one of my favorite Actors and Amy Jo Johnson is one of my favorite Actress.

To me this is one of the best movie I have seen in a long, long, time.

The story was great, the acting was great, and the action was great.

I thought the cast of the movie did a great job with this movie, There was a little bit of everything in this movie.

Burt Reynold, Bruce Dern, and Amy Jo Johnson were the best choices for the lead roles in Hard Ground.

I love this movie for just being a great western.

I don't care about movies that are "best pictures", "Best Actor" "Best Actress", "Greatest movie ever"!, and so-on

I just want to watch a movie that have the cast doing their best to put on a good movie.

In my opinion, If the Actors and Actress are doing a great job in the movie, they done their job, I just want to enjoy a movie and be glad that I watch that movie.

My favorite line in Hard Ground was when John McKay (Burt Reynolds), Nate Hutchinson (Bruce Dern), And Elizabeth 'Liz' Kennedy (Amy Jo Johnson) were riding in the desert and John and Nate got into a agrument, Elizabeth said "You two are darn fools!, Agruing over what right and what's not, There a man (John McKay's Son Play by Seth Peterson) waiting for his ken to do the right thing, family have you got, you understand family, Thank God that you got one".

The main idea of Hard Ground: John McKay (Burt Reynolds) is going to prison for a crime his doesn't do, But when Billy Bucklin (David Figlioli) and a few others escape, John refuse to help Billy. So, Nate Hutchinson (Bruce Dern) makes a deal with John McKay, Nate will get John's freedom back if he help him find Billy, Billy's gang then attack Elizabeth 'Liz' Kennedy's (Amy Jo Johnson) family. So she join John and Nate In Their Scearh for Billy to avenge her family.

All in all a great movie that I going to buy on DVD.

I give Hard Ground 9 out of 10.

Check Hard Ground Out.
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the rating should be lower than 6.5...
faithnomore702 September 2006
I just bought this movie very cheap..

I don't write many reviews...but i'll go for another try.

I was at least expecting an average & entertaining movie. The movie is not good, and I don't understand the high/average rating on this board, even though there is only a few voters so far, it doesn't even come close to the result of the movie, which is very disappointing. Understand that everyone has the right, to have different taste in movies...but here it goes..

The movie is poorly done. When it comes to acting, it seems kind of wooden or stiff, in this flick. Even for the legendary actors Reynolds & Dern. As for the lesser known actors, they seem mis-casted. Especially the young girl, who through-out the movie seems too pure, when you think about the dusty environment. Her acting was way too obvious, but not in the talented kind of way.

The guy who played the main badguy, was so annoying and kept overacting his part. Martin kove's performance was kind of laughable, which i'm sure he (personally) was aware of. He had a silly accent and a "special" voice. Also the young the young guy, who protects the girl i the beginnin, reminded a bit of paul walker but his acting was worse.

The music was poorly composed, and seemed to be too much in the background. There was also a lack of dynamic during the action scenes. Sometimes, I thought it sounded like a keyboard(synth) either way, it was only helping the movie, to reach the bottom of no-quality.

The script made the movie kind of predictable, very stereo-type kind of characters etc.
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Reynolds and Dern back in the saddle with zero support ...........
merklekranz11 December 2009
Here we have two fine actors and that's about it. Burt Reynolds and Bruce Dern are back in the saddle, and given nothing to work with. The villain, David Figlioli, is a cartoon-like character. The script appears to have no direction, as it wanders all over the place, leaving the viewer with questions that are explained along the way only to expand the running time. But by far the biggest negative in "Hard Ground" is the total miscasting of Amy Jo Johnson. Instead of looking, sounding, or acting like a frontier woman, she comes across as if she just stepped out of a designer jeans commercial. Whenever she is on screen, she drags the movie right down to the mat. What you are left with is some nice location photography, and Reynolds and Dern struggling mightily to keep things from falling apart completely. - MERK
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joshbush15 April 2007
I absolutely LOVED this movie. It was a very entertaining movie, and the best western movie I've seen in a LONG time. I was pulled right in to all the awesomeness of the movie. The story line was great. Sure it had it's dull moment's, but what movie doesn't. It was SWEET! Anyone who says otherwise, just doesn't appreciate a good movie when they see one. Seth Peterson did a great job, and Burt Reynolds did as well. I would watch that movie over and over again if i could. That is definitely on my top 10 favorite movies. I recommend watching this movie cause if you are a normal person, you will LOVE it. They did a fantastic job on making this movie. The title sounds really sweet to. But I'd give it a 20 out of 10. Just cause it RULED so much. It still doesn't beat John Wayne though.
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Mostly blank shots!
jadelotuz3 May 2008
Well, I Happened to see this movie.

I'm not a particular Western-Fan, but when a movie is good, then its good no matter the genre, and vice verse. This one is quite dull (even if it had been a Sci-fi flick).

Im not gonna go deep into details, but my opinion falls somewhere similar to the lower scored comments here.

The actors feels a bit wooden, the sound-effects are bad, the action moments lack "umphf", the bad guy is stupidly, annoyingly portrayed and overacted, the relationships between the characters is so embarrassing, the special effects ... well there is not that many SFX, etc.

If you really have the crave for "Wild West" movies, go see "Young Guns" instead, or why not "Deadwood" - another TV-production that really oozes quality. But if you're in some personal quest, that you have to see every western there is, well, go ahead. Or if you do some research like - How Burt Raynolds Carrier is going down ... then this also could be helpful.

I Gave it a "2", mostly because the horses did some nice acting. Acting like embarrassed animals in a low budget badly script, dumb movie, or was it acting?

Overall, you don't miss anything by avoiding this.
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Mostly flat
Wizard-87 November 2010
If you are familiar with the movies that Hallmark Entertainment makes and/or distributes, you can probably guess that this particular movie misses the mark. To be fair, not everything about the movie is bad. It's always nice to see Burt Reynolds or Bruce Dern, and we get them both in the movie. They give the movie some charm and they have some good chemistry together. But not much else in the movie works. The feel of the movie is not right, from the unauthentic-looking props to the real generic locations. The bad guys in the movie are surprisingly boring, and they don't do much more than shoot people while chortling. The biggest flaw in the movie is that the movie is very uneventful, moving at a very slow pace. It feels like a half hour TV western stretched to 88 minutes. Let this one ride by.
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