OK, so the following review—in which I point out how this film is better than mediocre but nothing particularly special—will not take into account that Hollywood veteran Ed Harris (Apollo 13, The Rock) co-wrote, directed, produced, wrote and performed a song for, and starred in this movie. Heck, if a respectable actor can take on every one of these duties for one project, the output is usually worth watching.
After the marshal of old west town Appaloosa, N.M., is killed by a villainous rancher (Jeremy Irons, Die Hard With a Vengeance) and his gang, the city leaders recruit guns-for-hire Virgil Cole (Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen, The Lord of the Rings). As the pair helps reclaim Appaloosa, it seems the only thing that can get in their way is a fragile, eye-catching widow (Renee Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary) who's stumbled into town.
I was definitely rooting for this film to succeed. And I am not disappointed I watched, but the film never found much momentum or explored the depth of its characters. While all of the leads were fun to watch in a western setting, Mortensen was really the gem of the cast. In fact, I was so excited by his performance I had to revisit his turn in Hidalgo shortly thereafter.
Clearly the western is seeing a resurgence. Unfortunately, recent big-name titles in the genre—like 3:10 to Yuma and Appaloosa—didn't knock my socks off. But both are providing the groundwork for titles going forward. And Ed Harris' hard work here is still worth checking out.
This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.