There’s one great scene in this seriously undercooked “western” when UFO’s first make their appearance, using wires to grab cowboys, and suck them into their vessels. That we never get a scene as fun as this one is part of the frustration I felt once the movie ended. It looks slick at first, Indiana Jones meets James bond for a showdown with space creatures. But even Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig can’t save this from being all tease, and zero payoff. I admire John Favreau’s keen eye for casting and locations, but where’s the story dude? Yet “Cowboys & Aliens” opens with a bang, whetting our appetite right from the beginning with Craig waking up in the middle of nowhere, beaten bloody with no memory of who he is. On his wrist is some kind of a bracelet, which our man will figure out later. Harrison Ford looks ready to rock, so’s Olivia Wilde, who plays an unusual western leading lady. And then what? Aliens show up, kidnapping much of the interesting characters, including Paul Dano (“There Will Be Blood”) who plays Ford’s son, and Keith Carradine. As for the monsters, except for their creepy looking chest cavities, they’re not very interesting to be honest. The one great scene mentioned above turns out to be a buildup for nothing. Ford whines about his useless son, while Craig keeps having recurrent nightmares of his dead wife. Yaawn. The final showdown could have been huge. Instead, all we get is too many lousy action scenes, a la “Transformers”, with both sides shooting blanks.
That said, “Cowboys & Aliens” is certainly watchable, like its two leading men, but at the end of the day, it made me long for an old fashioned western movie instead. Now excuse me while I go watch “High Plains Drifter”.
Categories: The Twenty-First Century