3:10 to Badass!

Okay so I am going to step back from my rants about the summer-movie-suckfest. And I am going to talk about 3:10 to Yuma.

First off I never saw the original from 1957. 40 years between takes on this film seems pretty decent amount of time to me. I’ve done some reading around the net and lot feel that the original is one of the great 50’s westerns. So at some point I’ll see it. However right now I am going to talk about the new movie.

I love westerns. While yes I am a huge fantasy and sci-fi geek…Westerns are just kick ass movies about cold and hard as steel men doing ass kicking things.

The Movie: The legendary and ruthless outlaw, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) has been captured and is bound for the town of Contention to board the 3:10 to Yuma for trial and execution. Dan Evans (Christian Bale), desperately needing money to save his farm, agrees to help transport Wade to Contention but he must be paid $200. Wade’s gang however is looking to stop them from getting on the train.

What Worked: First off this is a fantastic traditional western film with good guys and bad guys and shades of grey that comes from the time to decide what is morally right and what might actually be a very easy way out of a bad situation. As in other classic westerns like “The Magnificent Seven” and “High Noon”, choosing the easy way out is rarely heroic and certainly doesn’t create the high intensity story line played out in this movie. This movie showed that the old west is a great back drop for showing the complexity involved in manhood, especially when fatherhood is involved.

This is Russell Crowe’s best performance since Gladiator. He just nails this character with a huge heap of wickedness and brilliance as Ben Wade. He plays out these psychological mind games with his captors that are down right evil, and yet can be humorous at times, it is downright frightening.  He plays the bad guy you root for but all the while you know you shouldn’t be.  He is just awesome.

Christian Bale captures the desperation of a man continually wronged in his life. You get a solid view of all the things he has suffered. His country, politicians, and even his God have all seemed to have turned their back on him. He struggles to maintain his morality and his character for his sons and wife, and he proves time and time again that he is no ordinary man. He is possessed by a strength character, one that when faced with impossible odds refuses to back down. He stands tall when all others turn tail and run. Strap a red, white. And blue shield on his back and call him Cap.

Some of the other standouts include Ben Foster as Crowe’s right-hand man, Charlie Prince. While Crowe plays the evil-yet-likeable devil with the silver tongue, Foster plays the Beast in the dark, which we all fear. He is a very scary guy, but he also has a couple of the film’s funniest lines. Also I was very happy to see Alan “I am a leaf on the wind” Tudyk, he plays the towns Veterinarian/Doctor oh so cleverly called Doc. Tudyk gives another fine performance. He needs to work more! Also, I would be remiss to not mention Peter Fonda’s all too brief role as the bounty hunter. Fonda spews his lines at the camera, and while a brief role it is memorable.

This film has a gritty approach taken by up and down director James Mangold. In this movie however we can feel the gunshots, stampedes, chase scenes, the fork to the throat, and dirt in the wounds. This realism helps build the tension of the final few minutes. Let me add this, I need to give a huge round of applause to Mangold for not using the clichéd shots of watches and clocks. There are enough for effect, but its not over done to ruin the tension of the moment.

What Didn’t Work: It is very rare that I can say that nothing about this movie sucked. I loved it from beginning to end.

The Verdict: So far this is one of the must see and probably one of the best movies of the year. With all the cruddy movies that have been regurgitated at us this year. This one shines like a brilliant halo. I honestly can’t say that often say that about August/September releases. Regardless, this is a film to see.

Here are a few other movies you should check out too. These are just a few that I would recommend you check out.

The Wild Bunch (1969 Directed by Sam Peckinpah)
Rio Grande (1950 Directed by John Ford)
True Grit (1969 Directed by Harry Hathaway)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (Directed by Clint Eastwood)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969 Directed by George Roy Hill)
A Fistful of Dollars (1964 Directed by Sergio Leone)
Once upon a Time in the West (1968 Directed by Sergio Leone)
The Magnificent Seven (1960 Directed by John Sturges
Silverado (1985 Directed by Lawrence Kasden)
Open Range (2003 Directed by Kevin Costner)
Unforgiven (1992 Directed by Clint Eastwood)
Tombstone (1993 Directed by George P. Cosmatos)


~ by lyoncage on September 19, 2007.

3 Responses to “3:10 to Badass!”

  1. I’m pretty sure that you need to add “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” to that list there, Sonny Jim. 😉

  2. Well your right…

  3. and Maverick

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