Have you guys seen the laundry list of incredible A list Hollywood names attached to this movie?? I’m not saying that a celebrity roster makes for a good picture; far from it. Quite the opposite sometimes. Producers start to rely on star power, and they get lazy everywhere else. But I’m talking about some heavy hitters with clout AND taste. Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, John Favreau, Sam Rockwell, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, and the big man himself, Steven Spielberg.
“Cowboys & Aliens” starts off gritty and mysterious, and doesn’t let up until the credits roll. It seems like a silly concept, but at its heart this movie is a serious western. Daniel Craig really only has one look the entire time, but with those piercing baby blues he only needs one look. Think Clint Eastwood meets Blue Steel. From scene one the audience is getting slapped in the face with “Taken” levels of action. It’s the kind of well-filmed, abrasive violence that makes you cringe but you can’t stop watching. Forget the parkinsons style shaky cam work that spared movie makers from actually choreographing a fight scene lately. Favreau (the director of “Iron Man” fame) spares no frame, and blasts the rampage directly into your eyeballs like a sadistic lasik surgeon with attitude.
Daniel Craig, who plays lead cowboy Jake Lonergan, wakes up with a wicked case of alien induced amnesia. He stumbles into town not knowing who he is or where he came from. What he does know, however, is how to kick ass.
Well it’s not too long before Lonergan’s steely gaze attracts the unwanted attention of the town’s rich, rough, and tough resident “bad guy,” Woodrow Dolarhyde (played by Harrison Ford). I had to put “bad guy” in quotes because things aren’t so cut and dry. I’m not one to spoil the surprises, but suffice it to say that these two cowboys don’t get along.
Soon enough the town gets space jacked by alien mauraders, and Lonergan’s bizarro arm cannon activates. Turns out his exotic bracelet blaster is slightly more effective at taking down these intergalactic invaders than a Smith & Weston, though its origins remain a mystery. Our two rootin’ tootin’ buckaroos reluctantly team up like a cowpoke “Rush Hour.”
Anyway, these guys and a few of the braver townspeople, including Doc (Sam Rockwell) and Ella (Olivia Wilde), go to track these alien assholes down. Along the way we are treated to more backstories and manly dialogue, everyone showing equal parts of thoughtfulness and badassery. I really enjoyed the pacing of the movie, a great mix of action and drama. The extraterrestrials were handled well, with a slow building reveal and plenty of jump-out-and-grab-you-in-the-testicles moments. The best part is that aside from the fact that these fellas were taking down aliens in the old west, the movie never degenerated into a parody of itself. It maintained a seriousness that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find, given the fairly outrageous premise.
… unlike this hard hitting documentary about corruption in the dental industry that some people mistook for a comedy.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!