Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: 3:10 To Yuma

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Most cold-blooded killers are, after all, misunderstood.

Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) has been on the run, gun slingin’, robbin’, killin’, and committing all sorts of crimes that have him number one on every person’s bounty list. However, Wade is a pretty ruthless man, to where he can get away from anyone looking to reel him in for justice; it also helps that he’s got the helping hand of his band of fellow thugs, especially his go-to-guy, Charlie (Ben Foster). But eventually, Ben gets caught by the local law and ready for the 3:10 train to take him to Yuma. But in order to get him there, he’ll have to be transported among many lines, where everyone is looking to take Ben down and get a little piece of the reward-money pie. However, Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is just looking to do this so that he can get some money, save his farm, and go home to his family, where he can feel like a responsible man again. As expected though, the trip goes through all sorts of bumps, bruises, and plenty of violence, where one thing leads to another, and it’s never very clear if Ben will ever get on that train and behind bars, like he should.

"Hold it! I'm not Batman here, but other places. Kind of."

“Hold it! I’m not Batman here, but other places. Kind of.”

3:10 to Yuma is the rare kind of Western that not only revitalizes the genre, but also proves why it’s so great in the first place. It doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel of the genre, make up new rules, and play by its own game, but instead, take everything that you know and love from all those other classics, bring them together, and let you have a great time. It’s as if it’s own beast, entirely, even if, yeah, it’s actually a remake, too.

Still, even if 3:10 to Yuma isn’t the most original story out there, it more than makes up for it in all the thrilling, exciting and rather unpredictable action-sequences that take place over its two-hours. James Mangold is a perfect fit for this material, because he knows exactly how to make it all crackle and pop, without ever seeming like he’s out of his depth. Even though Mangold sure does love to jump around from genre to genre, with sheer reckless abandon, it seems like the action-genre may be the one he sticks with, not just because he seems to enjoy it the most, but because he actually seems to know what he’s doing with it, as opposed to those like Michael Bay, or McG.

Why on Earth did I just mention McG’s name?

Anyway, moving on. 3:10 to Yuma more than gets by with its action, but at the heart of it all, and perhaps what makes it more than just another fun and exciting romp through the Old West, is that it’s also the tale of two interesting, challenging, and complex men. Both Christian Bale and Russell Crowe put in great work here, going beyond the silly accents, and showing that there’s more to these two guys. Crowe’s Wade may be a ruthless, toothless (not really, he has quite the set of chompers), and almost sadistic killer, but he’s also got a set of morals and he’s quite the charmer. Whereas, on the other side of the coin, Bale’s Dan is a man with plenty of morals, a simpleton, and family man, but at the same time, won’t hesitate to kill, if he ever has to.

Ben Foster. Up to his usual tricks of not taking a shower to prep for a role.

Ben Foster. Up to his usual tricks of not taking a shower to prep for a role.

Both men are different, yes, but they’re also quite alike in many ways, too, and it’s what makes 3:10 to Yuma quite compelling to watch.

Even when the action is gone for a short while and everyone’s sitting around a fire, eating beans, chewing the fat, it’s still entertaining to watch; the cast is so good, the characters so well-defined, and the script is actually polished. And with Bale and Crowe’s performances, we get to see two men who, despite being on opposites of the social spectrum, still respect the other enough to know where they come from, what their ideals are, and why they are, the way they are in the world. It almost comes close to a bromance, except for the fact that they do try and kill each other every so often, but even then, who knows.

Bromances work in mysterious ways, sometimes.

But anyway, aside from both Crowe and Bale, the ensemble’s a pretty good one. A very young Logan Lerman shows that he can hold his own as Dan’s son; Dallas Roberts plays the sheriff who has to take Wade in with Dan and shows that even the scrawniest of men, with a gun, can still kind of be bad-ass; Peter Fonda shows up and brings some class; Kevin Durand is, as expected, pretty crazy; Luke Wilson has a fun cameo; and Ben Foster, as Wade’s right-hand man, is so crazy, so deranged and so evil, that he almost ends up stealing the show. But still, it’s Bale’s and Crowe’s show to the end and when they’re together, their scenes never stop igniting the spark and make you wish that they’d work together more and more. It doesn’t even have to be in Westerns.

Couldn’t hurt, though.

Consensus: Even if it’s still a Western through and through, 3:10 to Yuma is a tense, exciting and incredibly well-acted piece of entertainment.

8 / 10

Look at 'em. Trying so hard not to make-out and measure sizes.

Look at ’em. Trying so hard not to make-out and measure sizes.

Photos Courtesy of: AV Club, Rotten Tomatoes 


True Grit (2010)

The Dude playing a sheriff. This is heaven.

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross’ (Hailee Steinfeld) father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), and she is determined to bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of a trigger-happy, drunken US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), she sets out with him – over his objections – to hunt down Chaney. Her father’s blood demands that she pursue the criminal into Indian territory and find him before a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf (Matt Damon) catches him and brings him back to Texas for the murder of another man.

The western genre has been kind of dead as of lately. I mean there have been your occasional westerns like Appaloosa, or 3:10 To Yuma awhile back for that matter, but never has there been one in the last couple of years that has brought it back to the “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” stages it used to be. But I think it just needed somebody who could handle it right, and those were The Coens.

The Coen Brothers direction is solid here. They use a lot of time to focus on the story, and keep the pace going at a minimal pace. The script that they wrote is also very good for this movie, as it keeps humor, in light of the bad and serious tone this film tries to maintain throughout the whole film. I was glad to see The Coens do something completley different, and once again, keep me watching.

However, my problem with this film is that it just kind of disappointed me. I like how they focuses on the story a lot, but the pace at times, was just way too slow. It would get to a point, and I thought it would go somewhere, and then it just ended up going right back to the dead pace. I will not lie this film is very enjoyable, but the problem was that there are certain times, where the film feels like it doesn’t have much really going on, so they just throw in a little gun-fight. The gun-fights were good in this film, but they didn’t come all the time to keep me entertained, because there still were some dry parts.

Jeff Bridges as usual, is the effin’ man in this film, playing Rooster Cogburn. He’s very good at playing the rough, tough, and stubborn man, who also has a good heart, and you have a feeling that in the end he will do the right thing. Sometimes it was hard for me to understand just what on the earth he was saying, but he is still always a joy to watch. Matt Damon is also very good here playing LaBeouf, giving us that dry, sophisticated timing we haven’t seen from him in so long. It all reminds us as to why he really is one of the best stars out there, and should be given each and every role he is offered. New-comer Hailee Steinfeld is perfect in this role, as Mattie’s Ross, as she is the heart of the movie, and we have to kind of rally around her for this film to work, and we do. She also shows that she can hang with stars such as Bridges, and Damon, and I cannot wait to see what she has planned next. Josh Brolin is also strangely good as Tom Chaney, and Barry Pepper also shows up, doing what he always does best. He gets under-casted, but doesn’t let you forget that he was in this film after all.

The main gripe I had with this film was the fact that I was kind of expecting something new, and improved to the Western genre, since this was done by The Coens and all. But instead, I didn’t get that. It all felt too by-the-book, and certain things happened, that you knew were going to happen, and it’s kind of a disappointment, cause this is The Coens, who are always known for keeping you on the edge of your seat, and surprising the hell out of you. But instead they just keep us entertained, which isn’t so bad, I just was expecting something so much more.

Consensus: True Grit is entertaining, with some good action, and great performances from the cast, but almost a big disappointment as I was expecting something more, and different from The Coens, and instead got your average, generic western, with more wit, and less surprises.