Monday, December 30, 2013

The Man Who Came Back (2008)

Director: Glen Pitre

Writers: Chuck Walker, Glen Pitre

Composer: Phil Marshall

Starring: Eric Braeden, Billy Zane, Carol Alt, James Patrick Stuart, Sean Young, Ken Norton, Jennifer O'Dell, Peter Jason, George Kennedy, Armand Assante, Al Hayter, Richard Jackson, Kate Clarke

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Revenge was his only answer.

Plot: When local legend Reese Paxton is wrongly accused of murder by the corrupt and racist town leadership and sentenced to prison, he accepts his fate willingly, hoping his innocence will eventually set him free. When the self-appointed mayor brutally murders Paxton's wife and son, he has nothing left to live for.  In a town that writes its own rules...a land where the innocent are killed...and a system with no justice, Paxton decides to take the law into his own hands. 

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

The film's lead actor and executive producer, Eric Braeden (who plays Reese Paxton), says in the DVD extras that this film was 9 years in the making.  It's also based on a true incident that happened in 1887 where black plantation workers went on strike and their subsequent slaughter by the plantation owner ended with nearly 300 workers and their families dead.  Interesting. Did you see the cast?  It's impressive to have so many names in this picture.  Learning after seeing it that Braeden was the EP makes more sense in how they were able to pull together such a big list of talent.   Speaking of talent...

I'd like to say that Braeden did a great job but I can't.  See, he's got a great Western look and voice but that's where it ends.  His speech is soft and his movement is slow.  It was bugging the bejesus out of me for the whole picture.  After watching it I looked up his IMDb page and saw that he's been the lead actor in a soap opera for more than a couple of decades.  Now it makes sense.  He was acting in soap opera mode which is very different than anything else...and slower.  I love George Kennedy but his Southern accent wasn't what it should be for a plantation owner.  It would have been better if he'd just used his regular accent.  Otherwise, it's great seeing him in anything.  Armand Assante looks like he's trying too hard but he does play a great slimeball.  Billy Zane looks like he had the most fun and spills charisma all over the place and his performance was the most enjoyable.  It's too bad he had very little screen time but at least it's sprinkled in small doses throughout.

As for everything else, the fight choreography is slow and clumsy, the music was pretty good, ah, forget it.  It's not a bad picture.  It would have helped A LOT if it had been shot on film or if the video quality looked a little weathered.  But with all of this, it's nearly two hours long.  Usually this spells boredom but it doesn't feel that long and I really wasn't bored at any point.  Sure, I was wanting things to move faster but I wasn't clock-watching which really surprises me now that I've watched it.  It has some good but it's loaded with things that could/should have been better.  If you're into Westerns, give it a shot.

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