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8 Seconds Review

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This film chronicles the life of Lane Frost, 1987 PRCA Bull Riding World Champion

★★★★★

Academy Award-winning director John Avildsen has a track record for giving American sports heros the Hollywood treatment (Rocky, The Karate Kid). This time he turns the camera on the world of America’s latterdays cowboys, in particular one Lane Frost, a real-life champion bull-rider who came permanently unseated at the age of 25, here played by Beverly Hills 90210 star Luke Perry.
It’s hard to countenance the suave Perry of the hit TV series getting down and dirty with several tons of beef but he does it in style, picking up Frost’s story — which starts with his childhood around a father too wrapped up in his own bull-riding career to notice the efforts of his eager-to-please son — as the champ is on the brink of hitting the bigtime. His father remains a source of unresolved pain, but Frost has his bull-riding chums and bride-to-be Kellie (Geary) to divert him.
Frost’s success, rivalries, marital tensions, and the sheer sweat and tears of struggling to stay on top puts paid to the cowboy’s saccharinely blessed life and, unfortunately, turns an averagely enjoyable biopic into a full-blown soap opera which wouldn’t look out of place as an episode of Dallas. The bull-riding sequences remain the most memorable element; clearly nothing less than the real thing, inspiring equal parts admiration, genuine fear and a strangely comforting sense that the Old West is still alive and thriving.
Judged for TV, this might have seemed more impressive but as a feature film it carries the distinct whiff of cow manure. As a vehicle for Perry, it doesn’t so much prove his ability outside 90210 as hint at something more behind the pretty face than just another pretty face.

Very average