Running Wild Isn't Your Typical Horse Movie

Horse movies are a known beloved favorite of girls all over the globe, but there’s a new one coming out that’s got just enough grit to get the guys watching, too. That’s because, along with the majestic steeds and lightly romantic storyline, there’s a rough and tumble group of convicts in the mix. What’s more, the cons are the good guys!

Running Wild

2017, PG

Running Wild tells the tale of Stella Davis (Dorian Brown), a 20-something horsewoman who finds herself penniless and in debt up to her neck after her no-account husband is killed in a car wreck. The reading of his will is an eye-opener, to say the least. Stella could just give up and start fresh, but the ranch has been in her family for generations. She’s not going let her late husband’s mismanagement – she discovers, with shock, that he left her $6 million in debt! – ruin her.

Stella works against all odds to save her beloved homestead by taking on a motley crew of non-violent convicts who are part of a work-release program at the nearby penitentiary. The men must race against the clock to rehabilitate a herd of wild horses so they can be sold at auction and, hopefully, pay the bank before it takes the ranch. Stella must face prejudice, greed, bureaucracy and a militant animal-rights crusader (played by Sharon Stone) to finally to heal the convicts, the horses, and ultimately herself. She does this with the help of her good-looking ranch hand, Brannon Bratt (Jason Lewis, former fashion model and heartthrob on shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Sex and the City).

There’s no nudity and only moderate cursing in Running Wild, so it’s probably OK for most kids to watch. There’s a very positive message about not judging books by their covers: The mustangs are written off as scrawny critters no good for anything but dog food, yet they emerge as robust saddle horses; the convicts are met with suspicion by the townspeople, but prove they can be productive members of society; and Stella is seen as a sheltered housewife but becomes a formidable businesswoman. All positive messages for youngsters.

Watching Running Wild may lead to some detective work by viewers who want to know more about the plight of the American Mustang. They will also be fascinated by the more truthful aspects of the film, which go into the unique program that allows broken men to bond with unbroken horses – and how this human/animal partnership is so beneficial to both. These are under-the-radar issues that deserve a spotlight.

On the downside, Running Wild is not very well-acted. Sharon Stone comes out fine, as does veteran actor Tommy Flanagan (most recently famed for his stint on the Sons of Anarchy biker drama), who plays the main convict. The actress who plays the heroine, Dorian Brown, doesn’t even have her face on the movie poster. She’s got some decent credits, but she’s not quite strong or convincing enough to make us want to pull for Stella. The movie drags here and there, thanks to writing and directing that feels like it came from the Lifetime Channel, circa the late 90s.

Horse lovers will, no doubt, overlook the clunky parts of the production. When all’s said and done, Running Wild has its heart in the right place.

Running Wild is rated PG and due to release February 10, 2017.

Will you watch Running Wild with the kids? What are some of your favorite films for horse lovers? Share with us!

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Visit Common Sense Media for more info on this movie’s appropriateness for your child.

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