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‘8 Seconds’

By Joe Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 25, 1994


John G. Avildsen
Luke Perry;
Cynthia Geary;
Stephen Baldwin;
Red Mitchell;
Carrie Snodgress
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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In "8 Seconds," a sappy, soapy Western for the Sassy set, lanky, lopin' Luke Perry slaps on a Stetson and a hokey-cowpokey accent as bull-riding champ Lane Frost. (The "8 Seconds" in the title refers to the time a rider has to stay aboard a bucking bull.) Aimin' to lasso teenage fillies with beefcake provided by Perry and Stephen Baldwin, this sloppy "Seconds" is full of bulls.

Frost was the guy Garth Brooks celebrated in his hit "The Dance" (weirdly, it's not on the country-packed soundtrack), but there's more action in that song than in this lame biopic. From here, Frost's career looks like a swift ride to the top without a bump -- no tension, no competition.

Okay, one ornery bull tries to Bobbitt-ize him, and Frost gets his hand snagged in the ropes for a few seconds there, but even these potentially life-threatening events get the ooops! treatment. A handful of brief bull-riding scenes are sprinkled throughout the movie, but they're strangely unexciting -- the electronic bull in "Urban Cowboy" seemed scarier.

Director John G. Avildsen ("The Karate Kid") keeps the reins slack in what amounts to a cowboys 'n' codependency weeper about Oklahoman Frost's marital misadventures. Those are with horse-riding champ Kellie Kyle, played sympathetically by Cynthia Geary of "Northern Exposure."

Perry drenches his lines in twangy barbecue sauce, grins ingratiatingly and looks somehow younger than he does as a "teen" on "Beverly Hills, 90210." Maybe it's relief -- Perry apparently took this role to get as far away from his TV zip code as possible. But "8 Seconds" isn't much of a test of his acting abilities, and his portrait of Frost is only slightly less of a cipher than "90210's" brooding Dylan McKay.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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