- Movie Rating -

The Black Stallion Returns (1983)

| March 25, 1983

The Black Stallion Returns is a movie that was sort of inevitable but not entirely necessary.  Successful movies these days breed sequels often whether they are necessary or not.  I had such deep admiration for The Black Stallion that perhaps I just didn’t know what to expect here.  There was nothing at the end of that film that prompted that a sequel should happen.

But, alas, here we are.  I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy myself and I might have liked this movie a lot more if the greatness of its predecessor wasn’t hanging over it.  The story isn’t the most original in the world, but it doesn’t damage the impact of the original either.  It opens just after the end of the first one with Alec living a quiet life on a farm with this mother (Teri Garr) and, of course, Black.  Then, late one night, a group of Arabs sneak into their barn and steal the horse.

The reason is tradition.  Every five years, it seems, tribes of Arabs race their best horses across the desert sands for what they in Arabia call tradition, but what we in the states call braggin’ rights.  Alec runs after Black and ends up in the desert where he meets several good Arabs and several bad Arabs, all with the goal of winning the race while Alec just wants his horse back.

Some smart writing may have been necessary here to flesh out the characters.  The Arabs are mostly stereotypes, portrayed as greedy, selfish and cruel.  My hope was that since the original was written with such human dimension that the template here might be a little smarter than your average desert adventure with a bunch of cut-throats.  But that’s not to be.  This movie demands that the Arabs be backward savages and that’s really disappointing.

I might have hoped that this would have been Alec’s perception, that meeting these people and getting to know them, he would realize their humanity and their individuality and how important their customs are to them, but the movie isn’t that focused.  Our trajectory is to get to that big desert race, which is exciting and draws to a conclusion that I did not expect.  I wanted the movie to be so much more, so much better, so much brighter.  Instead it’s fine, just fine and that’s a disappointment.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Action, Drama