Monday, August 1, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Director: Jon Favreau

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Clancy Brown, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Keith Carradine, Adam Beach, Paul Dano

More info: IMDb

Plot: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg's graphic novel series leaps to the screen as amnesiac gunslinger Jake Lonergan (Craig) stumbles into the Wild West town of Absolution, where he's confronted by potent enemy Col. Dolarhyde (Ford) and a terrifying problem: invading aliens. Aided by the lovely Ella (Wilde), Jake rallies a posse of the townspeople, Dolarhyde's minions and local Apache warriors to fight off the extraterrestrial threat.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah. I think once was enough.

In the past 15 years, Harrison Ford has only made 13 movies. I've seen 5 and only K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER (2002) was the only one that was worth a spit...the rest were shit (or pretty damn close to it)...until now. It's good to see him try to do a good job for a change. It seems like he's been cashing paychecks for years. Ford doesn't knock it out of the park but he has moments that harken back to the Ford of the 80s (1980s, not his age) and then there are the other moments. He sometimes comes off as a grumpy old man but I'm not going to labor that. No, the thing that bugged me most was that he often forced the corners of his mouth down to show he was mad or mean when all he needs to do is squint a little and remind us that he's more man than most of us could ever dream of being. He's got a great face and he has been known to put in a really good performance so I don't know why he would do something so one dimensional. The scene where he explains to the boy where the knife came from is his finest moment here and my favorite of the picture.

But the movie's not all about Harrison Ford. Daniel Craig continues to get plenty of mileage doing is Bond badass routine (which is certainly A-OK with me) and the rest of the cast does fine, too (Dano is so convincing as an asshole to the point I'd like to slap him if I saw him walking on the same side of the street as me). It's always a pleasure to see Keith Carradine in a Western and great job there, Clancy Brown (probably my favorite performance of the lot.)

I LOVED the first half hour. The middle hour was fun but I tended to like the film when it was being a Western than a sci-fi flick. The last half hour was the big fight and I was squirming in my seat the entire time. It seemed too much and too long. It bothers me that there was a revenge angle on one of the aliens with Craig and there's a couple of jump scares which nearly always suck. It's especially bad when a sudden loud noise and visual don't get so much as a blink out of you. There are so few Western & genre (sci-fi/horror) mash up films out there that I really do appreciate ANY attempt but this one left me wondering where some of the fun disappeared to. It's definitely worth seeing but lower your expectations a little. This isn't the Harrison Ford movie we've been looking for...but it's pretty damn close.

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