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