Friday, October 5, 2007

3:10 to Yuma, directed by James Mangold [2]

**/***** (2/5)

Watching this movie reminded me how much I miss westerns. Although I didn't like the ending and Christian Bale's weak character in Mangold's 3:10 TO YUMA, I enjoyed other parts of it and the music was nice. It felt like a very slick western, which is a novelty these days. I've heard this is a remake of Glen Ford's THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN made in 1957, and though I haven't seen the original, this one is good.

Russel Crowe stars as notorious western outlaw Ben Wade while Christian Bale stars as the honorable and crippled husband Dan Evans in need of funds. Sharpshooter Ben Wade and his redoubtable gang just robbed an armed stage coach carrying the Southern Pacific Railroads payroll. Railroad representative Butterfield recruits paid volunteers to escort Wade to the 3:10 train to Yuma bound for prison. Christian Bale's poor and crippled character Dan Evans joins the escort for 200 dollars. This movie is about this escort while Wade's gang is hot on the trail. Wade himself manages to eliminate a few comprising his escort service and you start to wonder who's the real captive(s) and captor(s). Eventually, the movie turned into a journey of male bonding between Crowe's Wade and Bale's Dan Evans.

I liked the movie, but I thought Christian Bale's Dan Evans was too dumb. Bale's Dan Evans is another one of those "brave and honorable" men who are too dumb. He's crippled, he isn't the gunman Wade and his gang are, and yet he wants to escort Wade for a chance to make his sons proud. Okay, I guess. Crowe's Wade pretty much plays with Christian Bale's Dan Evans the entire movie and while Crowe was enjoying himself, Bale's character was struggling to survive.

If not for the stupid, honorable and meaningless characterization of Bale's Dan Evans, I would have liked this movie more. I miss westerns!

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