Category Archives: Westerns

The Salvation (2015)

Director: Kristian Levring.
Starring. Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Eric Cantona, Mikael Persbrandt, Douglas Henshall, Michael Raymond-James, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce.USA/Denmark/South Africa. 1h 32m.

Westerns have long been a tough genre for me, I grew up watching them with my mother and grandfather and I really started to hate them. I suppose any entertainment that makes the adults lose interest in how cute you are will do that to a child’s psyche.. the only entertainment was playing with Gramps while he slept through some of the classics. Later on in life, when I got over the trauma, I rediscovered Spaghetti Westerns and I started to accept the genre back into my life, unless there’s a Mexican revolution a haunting Ennio Morricone soundtrack and less white people attempting to make believe that America has always been white, then the better things start to get. I’ve loved the reassurance of darker and more graphic horror westerns such as Seraphim Falls (2006), Brimstone (2016) and the almost instant cult classic Bone Tomahawk (2015), which have won me over. But without having a mythical foe or a revolution, there’s a striking grasp of The Salvation which has a more believable story of two immigrant brothers just trying to get ahead in the wild west and meeting ugly adversity.

Continue reading The Salvation (2015)

The Pale Door (2020)

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Director: Aaron B Koontz
Starring: Melora Walters, Zachary Knighton, Noah Segan, Stan Shaw, Devin Druid, Bill Sage .USA. 1h 36m

While being blown away with the wild violence on Bone Tomahawk (2015) I wondered if it was going to mark a revival of the Horror Westerns and luckily it did, The Nightingale (2018) and The Wind (2018) soon followed and really kept up the momentum, pioneering new levels and atmospheres in the genre, then things started to spiral out of control and the low budgets are now having a bash at grisly film with a western feel.

The Pale Door has one of those movies titles that sounds poetic and could allude to a rabbit warren of possibilities, sadly they picked a really strange combination of events to try and build a story on. Continue reading The Pale Door (2020)

Ghost Rider (2007)

Director: Mark Seven Johnson
Starring: Sam Elliott, Eva Mendes,Wes Bentley, Peter Fonda, Nicholas Cage .USA. 1h 50m

The talking point of this lackluster movie for me is, Who would you have cast as the Ghost Rider? Personally I’d love to see a young Jack Nicholson or Ron Perlman, or even a jacked up Henry Rollins just spittin some wild lyrics! Alas as Nicholas Cage is such a giant Ghost Rider fan he lobbied for the role and eventually got it, sadly he had to have this Ghost Rider tattoo covered up for the role…of Ghost Rider.. Continue reading Ghost Rider (2007)

Broken Horses (2015)

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, Anton Yelchin, Chris Marquette, María Valverde, Thomas Jane .USA. 1h 41m

A charming American Western style thriller centring around two brothers and the ties that bind them, Chopra has adapted 1980s Hindi movie for the American audience but it only vaguely translates for the different culture and atmosphere overall, the true sentiment of the movie really works however from time to time it just seems too melodramatic, something that would definitely work in the Bollywood industry but seems a bit too over the top for what could be a really violent thriller. Continue reading Broken Horses (2015)

Kid (1990)

Director: John Mark Robinson
Starring: C Thomas Howell, Sarah Trigger, Brian Austin Green, R Lee Emey, Dale Dye, Michael Bowen, Michael Cavanaugh. USA. 1h 31m

If Chilling Revenge Western were a genre then this would be its definition, and despite the heat of the blistering desert, John Robinsons thriller only takes about 20 minutes to get to the first death, he really wasn’t messing around. After beating up some local bullies and getting the attention of the hottest girl in town the tall dark handsome stranger (Howell) rents a room and goes to the local hardware store, picking up some weird supplies, the clerk asks him “do much huntin’?” The Kid replies.. Thinking about startin” and we’re off to the first kill, the one that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Continue reading Kid (1990)

From Hell to the Wild West

Director: Rene Perez
Starring: Robert Bronzi, Karin Brauns, Alanna Forte, Nicole Stark, Charlie Glackin, Robert Kovacs .USA. 1h 17m

I was a bit confused about this movie, the cover made it look like Charlie B has come back from the dead to hunt a monster in the desert, and I’d buy that for a dollar. This indie film is only slightly different in that it actually stars Robert Bronzi who is an Ukranian actor who made it big as a Charles Bronson impersonator.. In this Horror Western he’s an experience hunter and tracker who is on hot pursuit for a deranged serial killer who’s been stalking women in the desert and wrecking their bodies in a similar style as a certain well known London killer. Continue reading From Hell to the Wild West

Justice (2017)

Director: Richard Gabai

Starring. Jackson Rathbone, Stephen Lang, Nathan Parsons, John Lewis  USA. 1h 32m.

Westerns often have lawless towns that are soon put on the straight and narrow once a righteous man is found to run the bad guys out of town, these bad guys, usually idiots are under the control of a bad guy with some political ties.. but the righteous man usually still kicks their asses.. there you go I summed up this film. It’s not often that a film pile drives itself into the biggest clichés of a genre, the only thing missing from this was some injuns and a spittoon.

Starting off in the quiet sacred space of a church, Rev. Thomas McCord (Rathbone) busies himself with reverend stuff when a hooker strolls in looking for salvation, getting rather close the mayor walks in seeing their embrace starts hollering and the burns the church down with McCord in it. later on a tougher older brother James McCord (Parsons) waltz into down, freeing slaves and is generally an all-round American hero without a spandex suit. He finds that his brother has died in a tragic accident but isn’t biting on that schit and begins his own investigation while staying with an ex prostitute and some of the kinder people in town he goes head to head against Mayor Pierce (Lang) and his slow witted henchmen led by Reb (Lewis). The is a struggle as the Mayor and Freedom fighter tussle about who’s the alpha male until a bloody showdown, in the meantime the born again prostitute finds a higher level of repentance.

There’s little atmosphere in this film, and nothing builds as the movie progresses, the actors just move through their steps and lines as if automated. Lang strangely bothered to appear but didn’t really deliver a performance, nothing in par with anything he’s done before, but with so little hope that this was going to sell why waste your talent, to be fair, if you’re going to do a job, do it right! He does bring in a whole smooth callous mayor, but most of the animosity is between James and Reb, they spend much more screen time at each other’s throats.

A few scenes just didn’t make any sense and the plot holes are frequent, in one scene there is a public discussion on breaking James out of jail, with half of the people saying they didn’t want a part of it, and wandering off, I guess to remain silent!? Leaving the rest to open discuss how they are going to perform an unlawful act, as you do.. in the middle of town?

Somehow the acting is on par with Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, and feels soulless and bleak while the films gets sentimental around the point of the big showdown that has been on the cards since the first 10 minutes, this finale is lacklustre and manages to bring the film down to a point of no return.

Overall this is just dull and boring..

Rating 1/10

RBlack Killer (1971), Appaloosa (2008), Bone Tomahawk (2015)
L – A-Z of Westerns Vol 1
5s – Stephen Lang

 

Outland (1981)

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Director/Writer: Peter Hyams
Starring: Sean Connery, Frances Sternhagen, Peter Boyle, James Sikking. UK. 1h 52m.

After leaving the James Bond franchise Sean Connery was finding his footing in a range of different style of films and with his great acting abilities and physical fitness he was the perfect candidate for this futuristic “Space Western”. Continue reading Outland (1981)

Diablo (2015)

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Directed :  Lawrence Roeck
Written  : Carlos De Los Rios and Lawrence Roeck
Starring  : Scott Eastwood, Walton Goggins, Danny Glover, Adam Beech, Morris Birdyellowhead. USA. 1h 30m

Sometimes I hate being right about a movie, I predicted so much before watching this but hoped for the opposite.. But alas I was right, and if you know a fraction of anything to do with films then you will sus this movie out within seconds.

It’s been claimed that poor Scott has been sent hundreds of scripts for westerns on a monthly basis and picked out this film due to it’s unusual plot, and I can see why, it does actually tell a very interesting story and I did enjoy the crooked twist at the end but everything here is just so under powered and so much emphasis is on the main character that it becomes impossible for the movie to actually happen. Continue reading Diablo (2015)

Seraphim Falls (2006)

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A tortuous, violent and heartbreaking revenge film, superbly acted by two of Ireland’s best. This movie was a pivotal point in my life and actually got me watching westerns again.

Starting out in the snowy mountains, Gideon (Pierce Brosnan) is running for his life from a pack of inexperienced bounty hunters headed by the relentless Carver (Liam Neeson). after being shot he evades escape and heads down into the warm valleys while the group are constantly hot on his trails until they encounter a couple of very unusual characters in the hot desert who tempt them into their destruction or salvation. It’s brutal throughout it really doesn’t ever let up the violence apart from some strong dramatic scenes.

Both leads in this film are charismatic in their own rights and seeing them play off powerful emotions was very impressive. Neeson as the quick tempered and domineering Carver was akin to having Captain Ahab on a horse chasing down the one single thing that destroyed his world. in this instance the white whale is a hardened ex soldier, Gideon who got caught up in one mistake and brought down the wrath of Carver. Once you discover the backstory you can understand things from the points of view of both men and it’s a case of righter and wronger neither are right in their actions but both are doing what they feel is right by doing wrong. Continue reading Seraphim Falls (2006)