Over the years the History Channel has come into their own creating not only new original TV shows like Vikings, but also some epic mini-series. Their latest Texas Rising was a sprawling eight-hour miniseries that featured an all-star cast including Bill Paxton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olivier Martinez, Thomas Jane, Crispin Glover, Jeremy Davies, Christopher McDonald, Jeff Fahey, Ray Liotta, Brendan Fraser, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and a lot more recognizable faces. Now fans that may have missed the series when it aired on TV can bring it home when Texas Rising comes to Blu-ray and DVD.
Texas Rising follows the most important time in Texas history when they fought against the commanding rule of Mexican General Santa Anna for their independence that ultimately led to the formation of the oldest and most legendary law enforcement agency of all time the Texas Rangers. Just about every time someone tells a story about Texas independence they go straight for the Alamo and while that is one of the most important and iconic it was only the beginning. This film picks up after those events and takes the viewer through the whole story using a broader scope of characters and situations of this historical time. With any of these types of stories you know that there are obviously moments that are likely embellished, but it makes for some much better story elements. For these types of films to work they have to get the period look and feel right and they knocked it out of the park here. While there is the TV movie aspect to it all it still manages to have a huge scope with some great visuals and authentic look. The landscapes are vast and help to sell the overall feel of the picture, but it really boils down to the characters.
While everyone here does a great job it is Brendan Fraser, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Ray Liotta that really steal the film. Fraser is pretty subdued throughout most of the series in a good way, but there is an emotional moment late in the story that allows him to flex his dramatic emotional range and he kills it. Jeffrey Dean Morgan offer the most complex performance as he has to play up not only one of the toughest of them all he is also playing a deaf and sickly character that is forced to showcase more than just the action. Of them all though, Ray Liotta steals the show as his character goes through the most changes. He is an insane angry troubled survivor hell bent on revenge through most of the film and one that when you see him you know that blood will follow. Late in the film he is given a time to really shift focus and it gives him another time to completely reinvent the character and he does it well with still the hint of struggle. The rest of the cast all bring the needed drama and emotion to the roles making for a great piece of history.
When dealing with these sorts of films about history there is plenty of action through the wars they fought and they deliver that here as well. Not all of the action pieces are the best choreographed or as intense as you might want them to be, but they do the job of showcasing the varied moments in history and sets up the varying outcomes needed to bring it all to life. As good as the series is it isn’t quite as exciting as it should have been and some of the historical inaccuracies will likely irritate some, but if you just watch it for what it is then you will at least get a little bit of important history in your life. In addition to all 5 parts of this series this release includes featurettes that take you further behind the making of the film.
Join the fight for independence when Texas Rising hits Blu-ray and DVD on September 1st.