2.11.2008

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Russell Crowe and Christian Bale star in 3:10 to Yuma, an old style Western. Forget that nobody makes a film like this anymore, put your spurs on, load up your six shooter and saddle up for this review. This film is a remake of a 1957 film by the same name.

Crowe plays Ben Wade, a Jesse James style Western bandit that spends his day robbing stagecoaches outside town with his gang. Even an armored stagecoach with a Gatling gun (kind of ridiculous, I don't think it was ever done) can't keep the boys from getting the goods and killing the Pinkertons guarding it. Bale plays Dan Evans, the honest rancher with the family, facing the drought and the bank getting ready to foreclose, etc, etc, etc- you know, the guy with the white hat in most Western flicks. He is a Civil War vet, an amputee, and a sharpshooter from his regiment days. This makes Evans the perfect guy to accompany the Pinks to bring Wade to catch the 3:10 train to the Yuma federal prison. Besides, he needs the $200 in cash to save everything his family has worked for.

Needless to say, it doesn't quite go down as expected. After bringing Wade home (????!) as a diversion, and meeting the whole family (kind of ridiculous), they take a cross desert trip. Along the way, even I wanted to shoot Wade a few times as he incessantly attacks his captors, and gets temporary control of their weapons until subdued again. I was starting to wonder if Evans was doing this job too cheaply! The film progresses past the railway, and takes us to the inevitable shootout in the town waiting for the train.

In many respects, 3:10 to Yuma is the classic American Western reborn for a more modern audience. As "The West" is so intricately embedded in the American psyche, I do occasionally enjoy seeing a film like this. However, at many parts it was predictable as I found myself shouting at the TV "Don't go outside, they're waiting for you!" right before some character gets inevitably shot. The only new ground here is that their is no moral absolutism here. The good guys have to bend their morals to get the job done, and the villain prisoner attempts to redeem himself by the film's end.

Overall, 3:10 to Yuma is a little too slowly paced and predictable for my taste. It's not that it's a bad film, it's just that it's not a really good one.

Overall Grade: B

Reviewed by Jonas

Trailer:



PS: There's a medical tie in here. After the stagecoach robbery, the Pinkerton gets shot with a pistol. A few scenes later, we see that his abdomen has been turned into hamburger meat. First of all, it was more consistent with a shotgun blast, and no single bullet from a pistol could produce that injury. Then we see the town vet pull the bullet out with a pair of blacksmith pliers. For the rest of the film, the character is fine. Huh? It was a severe injury which would be difficult to repair using modern surgical techniques including prosthetic mesh, antibiotics, and advancement flaps. And this is just for the abdominal wall portion of the wound. I find it completely implausible that nothing in the abdomen was hit, which would have been fatal in those days, as abdominal surgery, and even sterility were decades away. Sorry folks, but they should have just given the character a different injury if they needed him throughout the film.

1 comment:

DCNofer said...

I'd have given this movie a higher rating because of the strength of Russell Crowe's performance, but I live for these medical tie ins!!