07
May
09

Movies on DVD: Appaloosa

appaloosa

Not the Western I was hoping for.

 

Stars Ed Harris, Viggo Mortenson, Renee Zellweger, Jeremy Irons, and Lance Henriksen. Directed by Ed Harris

 

When Marshall Jack Bell (Robert Jauregui) is killed by outlaw Randall Bragg (Irons), the three people who run the town of Appaloosa call in gun-for-hire Virgil Cole (Harris) and his hetero-lifemate Everett Hitch (Mortenson) to stop the outlaw from destroying it. Virgil and Everett are immediately deputized and go to work. Allison French, a new woman in town, complicates matters by falling for any guy within three feet of her, especially Virgil. Virgil makes it his mission to put Bragg away or see him hanging, while Everett tries to help Virgil keep his cool as well as watching out for him in regards to new love Allison.

 

I haven’t watched a Western this boring since “Open Range.” At least it had a shootout.

 

That’s not to say that the movie is bad; it’s just that it’s far from great and damn close to being forgotten. I’ll give Ed Harris his ability to act and pairing with Mortenson works well. The real problem here is the story (which Harris co-wrote) and direction (as noted above, he directed it too). Maybe Harris was aiming for some lamentation of the West as he would imagine it. The problem as much as he would like to be he’s not Clint Eastwood.

 

In all honesty it’s not easy to go from acting to directing. Several have tried with mixed results. Robert DeNiro did “The Good Shepherd,” which could have been better. Kevin Costner did “Dances With Wolves,” which was good but was followed with “Waterworld,” “The Postman,” and “Open Range,” which are mediocre at best. Kevin Spacey directed “Beyond the Sea” which I enjoyed. Anthony Hopkins did “Slipstream” which I haven’t seen nor heard anyone talk about.

 

And therein lies the question: who is the movie being made for? In this case I believe that Harris wanted to make a Western (as so many actors do) and got the funding and found that other actors (Mortenson, Zellweger, Irons) wanted to do one as well. While it may sound fun as a pet project and may have looked good on paper, the final product was less than desired. The sets looked okay and there were some story elements there but the rest seemed stale. I was literally waiting for the ghost of John Wayne to appear onscreen at any moment and start slapping the shit out of everyone.

 

Long, tedious, stale, and boring,

 

My grade: C

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