"3:10 to Yuma"
Directed by James Mangold.
Written by Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas.
Based on the 1957 film of the same name, based on a short story by
Starring Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Ben Foster and Peter
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 8/1/07
Kind of like my dad, I do loves me some
Westerns...so, when I saw the trailer for "3:10 to Yuma" a couple of
months ago, I was interested in "hangin' out." The DC Film
Society had a screening for the film tonight (it opens in early
September) and even got actors Peter Fonda and Ben Foster (from
playing crazy bad guys in both) to do a Q&A session after our
screening tonight. I didn't stay too long for the Q&A, mainly
because I thought the movie was just okay.
Based on a film from 50 years ago, "3:10 to
Yuma" doesn't stray from the original's storyline: a poor rancher
named Dan (Christian Bale), faced with the pending eviction of his
family from their Arizona home, takes a job escorting a bank robber
and renowned killer, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), to make enough money
to save his home...but, this Wade guy has a pretty dangerous posse
of friends who are hell-bent on rescuing their boss, led by the
absolutely insane Charlie Prince (Foster). Dan and a few
others have to get Ben on the 3:10 train to the Yuma Prison the next
day, so they've got their work cut out for them between a tight time
schedule, Charlie and the rest of Dan's gang, and the freakin'
"3:10 to Yuma" is a western where the bodies
get stacked up pretty good; certainly a change over how the original
film must have been made--without having even seen it myself--is
that this new version of the movie has a lot of people get all
bloodied up to earn it an R rating. Crowe seems to be enjoying
himself in this part; it's rare that you get to see Crowe playing a
version of himself after acting his way through the majority of his
"Cinderella Man" or
Beautiful Mind" or "The Insider." No, here, he's just a
guy, and besides faking an American accent, he is asked mostly to
shoot a lot of people and ham it up on occasion. Bale is once
again quite strong, but the majority of this cast is not, certainly
not at the caliber of performing that director James Mangold got out
of his last set of stars in
But, while the acting is so-so and the plot
feels familiar as all get-out (we even get good guys dropping until
we're down to just our principals), the scenery is beautiful and the
action is not too shabby. Six-shooters, shotguns, rifles and
Gatling guns make the heart grow fonder, and all of them get fired a
lot in "3:10 to Yuma" during the film's fairly consistent action
scenes. I don't know how different these are from the original
film's sequences, but here, they are quite strong. And,
naturally, that final shootout as the train rolls into town is money
in the bank.
The main weakness in "3:10 to Yuma" is the
characters; none of them is really that compelling, although I will
admit that I was playing out how my life might be if I was a poor
rancher with a hot wife at home and two kids who were always making
fun of me. That's what makes "Deadwood" such a great show on
HBO; the characters are mostly excellent, and you can't beat a
well-rounded bastard like Al Swearengen when you need him.
Hey, you can't have it all in life, but I was hoping that this movie
was going to be just a bit better.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard