I will be completely honest with you here. When I first heard about this movie, I thought it was going to be a remake of The Valley Of Gwangi, which is one of Ray Harryhausen lesser known movies, though in my opinion, it is some of his best work. Anyways, it turned out not to be the case but still, it had dinosaurs in it so I knew I was going to watch it and most likely enjoy it. However, the movie was only available in digital format only so I was faced with the tough decision on whether or not I should make such a purchase. Well, 5 seconds later (I know, that was a long time to think about it), I bought it and that night, would watch Cowboys Vs. Dinosaurs for the first time.
The plot: At the Lando Mining Site in Livingston, Montana, Dr. Sinclair, the woman in charge of the site, is sending armed security guards in with the mining crew as they try to find a large iridium deposit. When the miners find a large rock they can’t dig through, the demoliton’s expert, Quaid, rigs a charge and blows up the rock, revealing a tunnel behind it. One of the miners gets a reading on the geiger counter and goes ahead to check it further when he is suddenly attacked by a creature. The security team heads forward to investigate and they end up attacked by a small pack of Velociraptors. Quaid and another miner make a run for it and as the other man is killed, Quaid lights some dynamite and throws it, killing the raptors and causing part of the mine to collapse. Some time later, Val Walker, a former professional bull rider, returns to Livingston and stops at a friends ranch to see if there is any work but since he hasn’t ridden a horse since his accident, he is told that they can’t hire him even if they were able too. As he goes to leave, his friend mentions trying the mine, and says they might be hiring because of the accident. Meanwhile, Sky, Jenny, and two of their friends head to a nearby lake to go swim but when Jim, the boyfriend of one of the girls, shows up, Sky and Jenny leave as Sky has to go to work and after they leave, Jim and the girls are killed by some raptors. At the mine, Sinclair and Sheriff Henry are talking with Quaid about what happened and Henry says the mine is closed for the time being but Sinclair says that her boss, Mr. Marcus, is on his way and will get it reopened. In town, Val stops at the diner that Sky works at and when she sees him, she freezes up as they used to date. Sky manages to take Val’s order but then runs to the back and calls Henry, her new boyfriend, and he comes down to the diner and threatens Val to leave, pulling out his gun and threatening to shoot him. As Val gets up, Henry puts his gun away and Val punches him, causing Henry to arrest Val and placing him in a cell that is also occupied by Val’s drunken father. That night, the mine foreman and his wife are killed by a raptor at their home and Quaid discovers their bodies the next morning and, since nobody believes him, he decides to go hunting the raptor on his own. Using a methane detector to track the raptor, Quaid finally manages to shoot it. Meanwhile, Mr. Marcus arrives at the mine and holds a meeting with the workers, telling them his plans to access the hollow chamber from the other side by using explosives. Henry was investigating the foreman’s murder and finds a raptor claw there and brings it to the mine, just as Quaid shows up with the raptor carcass. Henry, who is basically working for Marcus, quickly covers up the body, saying it is a mountain lion, then takes Quaid and the body back to town while the miners work on setting up the explosives. The miners detonate the explosives and end up opening a sinkhole into the hollow chamber, inadvertently releasing a Tyrannosaurus and several more raptors, which proceed to start attacking the workers. Henry and Quaid see the blast and Henry goes to check with his deputy while Quaid goes to help fend off the dinosaurs, rescuing Jenny when the laudromat she is at is attacked by a raptor. Hearing what is going on Val tries to get Henry to let him out to help but Henry refuses. Marcus has Sinclair drive him to the airport when they are forced to detour because of the dinosaurs and after she witnesses a raptor kill a mother and start heading for her children, Sinclair uses the car’s horn to attract the raptor’s attention and lure it away. Meanwhile, a raptor attacks the police station and kills the deputy but Val manages to grab her keys and kill the raptor, then goes to see if Sky is ok while his dad stays behind in the cell. Marcus and Sinclair end up getting attacked by a raptor and saved by Henry and Quaid, who have them take shelter in a nearby bar with them, Jenny, and the owner. Val makes his way to the diner and sees all of the dead patrons but finds Sky is still alive in the kitchen. Val tries to get her to leave but she says she can’t and when she hears the phones are dead, she says there is a CB radio in the diner they can use to contact Henry. Back at the bar, Marcus tries to bribe Quaid to help him escape but Quaid refuses to help Marcus. Sky manages to get in touch with Henry and after talking to them, Quaid tells Val to get his truck, which is close to the diner, and go get help. They head out to the truck, and manage to escape from the T-rex when it chases them, but instead of heading out of town, Val heads to Quaid’s house. Heading inside, Val starts grabbing all of the guns Quaid has and Sky confronts him about why he left her and why come back now before her emotions overcome her and she starts crying in his arms. Back at the bar, Sinclair comes up with a plan to use the dinosaurs bodies against them, saying that their bodies are meant to survive in a more methane rich environment and should be flammable. Meanwhile, Marcus talks with Henry and makes his own plan for the two of them to escape by using the bar’s sound system to lure the dinosaurs into attacking the bar and escaping in the confusion. Back at Quaid’s house, Val gets ready to leave but fins out the fuel line in the truck is busted. Forced to overcome his fears, Val saddles a horse to use then rides off, rescuing Sky from a raptor in the process. Back at the bar, Marcus turns on the stereo and then he and Henry leave but Sinclair sees them and follows, only to be eaten by the T-Rex. Jenny manages to fire a flaming arrow at a raptor, which bursts into flames and kills another one but the bar ends up being overrun and the owner, Joe, is killed before Val and Sky show up to save Jenny and Quaid. Val has Quaid take Sky and Jenny to a nearby grain elevator and secure it while he goes to the police station and gets some flares and incendiary ammo to use against the dinosaurs. Meanwhile, Marcus finds the keys to the deputy’s vehicle and leaves, leaving Henry behind, but he ends up getting killed by a different kind of raptor that shoots some sort of acid from it’s mouth. At the police station, Val is getting more guns and ammo when he is attacked by one of these raptors but his dad kills it, but then is killed by a second raptor. Val kills the second raptor and then heads for the grain elevator, unaware that he is being followed by Henry. Reaching the grain elevator, they head for the second floor and Val comes up with a plan to lure the dinosaurs back to the mine to and kill them there but Henry says they should stay put. Val and Henry end up fighting when it comes to light that Henry left the others to die but when a raptor tries to attack Henry, Val saves him. Deciding to repel down to the floor and escape, Quaid leads the Sky and Jenny outside but Henry is killed while telling Val to escape. Using propane tanks to lure the dinosaurs back to the mine, Quaid, Sky, and Jenny begin shooting them as the appear and manage to kill all of the raptors, but Quaid is killed during the fight. When the T-rex appears, Val manages to lure it away by climbing onto a Triceratops and steering it off a cliff, then shooting the T-rex in the mouth as it starts to fall, causing it to burst into flames. Sky starts crying thinking that Val is dead but when he climbs back up the edge, she rushes towards him. The two embrace and are about to kiss when a Pterodactyl flies up from out of the sink hole and Val, Sky, and Jenny stare at it as it flies off.
Not quite what I was expecting but this was a pretty entertaining movie. The acting was decent for the most part, but Rib Hillis (Val) honestly seemed kind of bland and one dimensional, really not showing much change in emotion during the whole movie. The story was interesting and while elements of it were not exactly original, they did try to do a good job in explaining the dinosaurs ability to survive. The dinosaurs looked pretty good but a lot of the times when they were attacking people, that was when things looked a little sloppy with the special effects. The idea of them being combustible was a neat twist that did get some use in the movie but they could have done more with that in the finale then what actually happened. It’s not Jurassic Park but for a B-movie, it does it’s job in keeping you entertained.
Rating: 3 out of 5