Ambush at Dark Canyon (2012)

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Released 20-Apr-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 94:49
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Dustin Rikert
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Kix Brooks
Ernie Hudson
Timothy V Murphy
Andrew W Walker
James Karen
Luke Massey
Ronnie Gene Bevins

Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     In 1920 young reporter Jessie Helms (Andrew W. Walker) is sent by his editor to interview the wealthy recluse Seymour Redfield (James Karen), the last man still alive who may be prepared to tell just what happened during a bank robbery in 1892 which left six people dead and famous US Marshall Duke Donovan tried and convicted of masterminding the robbery. As Helms settles in, Redfield tells him the story of the robbery and the aftermath.

     The robbery had been organised and led by Levi Harden (Luke Massey) and Donovan (Kix Brooks) had been forced to participate because Harden was holding a woman hostage. Following the robbery Donovan had shot most of the outlaws, including Harden, but had been himself shot and captured. Unable to corroborate his story, Dovovan had been sentenced to life imprisonment in Yuma, a prison run by Warden Logan (Timothy V. Murphy). But after six weeks in gaol Donovan discovered that Harden was still alive and intent on killing Donovan’s wife in revenge. Donovan escaped with the help of Negro prisoner Cyrus (Ernie Hudson) and hurried to save his wife, pursued by a posse of warders led by Deputy Tom Sullivan (Ronnie Gene Bevins). All groups met for a showdown at Dark Canyon.

     Ambush at Dark Canyon (aka Dark Canyon) is a low budget western by co-writer / director Dustin Rikert. He has some other low budget films on his resume and Ambush at Dark Canyon is certainly not intended to be a revisionist western in any way. The good guys, even when they wear black, are good, the villain is a nasty piece of work without any redeeming features, unkind to women, violent to bartenders and horses, perfectly ready to shoot his own men if he thinks it will aid him, the warden brutal. So there is never any doubt where our sympathies should lie or where the film will go in the end, even though there is a bit of deliberate misdirection at the beginning. Kix Brooks scowls and growls but the acting generally is low budget, the dialogue never rising to any great heights.

     Nevertheless, a lack of anything new is one of the strengths of Ambush at Dark Canyon and fans of the genre will enjoy the traditional storytelling, the scenes of horsemen on the wide open vistas of the plains of Arizona, the sudden, chaotic shootouts and the country rock songs on the soundtrack.

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Transfer Quality


     Ambush at Dark Canyon is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Ambush at Dark Canyon was shot using RED cameras and the detail is clear and impressive, with both close-ups and wide shots on the Arizona plains and grasslands looking very good. Colours are deep and natural, without that digital glossiness, skin tones are also natural, blacks solid and shadow detail fine.

     Other than some aliasing on bricks or roof tiles, I noticed no marks or artefacts.

    There are no subtitles offered.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps.

     The audio is OK for a mono track. Dialogue is clear, the effects, including shots, are sharp but without depth and there is obviously no surround or subwoofer use. There is no credit for the score, but a number of country rock songs, many written and performed by cast member Kix Brooks, occur at intervals throughout the film.

     Lip synchronisation seemed fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Nothing at all. The silent menu offers only “Play Feature”.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are no reviews available for Ambush at Dark Canyon but the Region 1 US release is listed as having English and French subtitles.


     Ambush at Dark Canyon is a low budget film on a bare bones DVD with only a mono soundtrack. Yet the film features some beautiful locations and tells a traditional revenge story in a traditional way with just a touch of mystery thrown in. It is a film that requires no great thought but, somewhat to my surprise, I enjoyed it for what it is. Fans of westerns will find things to like.

     The video is good and the audio acceptable. There are no extras at all, not even trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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