Sunday, September 30, 2007

3:10 to Yuma: Exploding Horses

This movie's idea is simple: After notorious Arizona outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is captured, it's up to a handful of locals, including down on his luck rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) and bounty hunter Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda), to bring him to justice. Their mission is to transport Wade to the town of Contention where he will be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. While this journey entails a trip through dangerous Apache territory, the greatest threat to the posse comes from the prisoner himself and his murderous henchmen.

Even though the other recent Western Seraphim Falls was rather good, I wasn't enthused too much going to this movie. However if you had told me that there was much death & gunplay with Gatling guns and even an exploding horse, I'd have been first in line.

While a major part of this movie, the action isn't all this is about. There's a deep performance from both leads, Bale and Crowe who at first appear stereotypical good-guy and bad-guy roles but reveal much complex sides to their characters as the movie moves on. In fact by the climax of the film you're left wondering whose side you're rooting for but Cop Land director James Mangold, understands the story’s moral code and it clearly shows. It also lends much to the exceptional supporting cast.

3:10 to Yuma is a thoroughly enjoyable Western with a slightly disappointing ending (but not a strange as Seraphim Falls') but I guess they needed to make it somewhat different from the original - still I don't like this trend, I'd like to go "Wow" at the end as I would with the rest of the movie. Still highly recommended.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

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