3:10 to Yuma (2007)
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Review Date: April 18, 2008
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Producers: Cathy Konrad
Christian Bale as Dan Evans
Russell Crowe as Ben
Ben Foster as Charlie
Super bad guy Ben Wade (aka Russell Crowe) shuffles into a dingy little western town with his posse, after robbing the shit out of a coach carrying a lot of cash. As most bad guys would do, the man decides to bed a whore to take the edge off, but it turns out to be at the expense of his freedom, as his “quickie” gets him nabbed by the good guys. Unfortunately for them, they have to get him to another town so that they can put him on a train to Yuma prison, where he’ll be hung. Rancher Christian Bale is one of the dudes with a gun who is responsible for getting him to that train station. Western stuff ensues…
An above average Western featuring a handful of solid performances by a handful of solid actors, many of whom allow this film to elevate itself somewhat above its average storyline, which despite starting strong and ending on a pretty sweet gunfight climax, got a little redundant during its midsection, although never enough to take me out of the proceedings. In fact, for an average paced movie that lasts about two hours, I was surprised at how engaged I remained throughout almost the entire movie, and much of that credit might have to go to the film’s dual leads, Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, who continue their awesome characterizations with their respective parts here. Unlike most of his previous uber-confident roles, Bale displays a lot more vulnerability and insecurity as “the man with a family to protect” here, although his inner-strength does make a move to the forefront at some point. Crowe didn’t have to act so much in this movie, but he did jack up the “charm” factor, which in a film like this, generally goes a long way (did every woman he met wanna sleep with him?). I wasn’t crazy about his character though, it has to be said. It seemed like he was the world’s biggest badass, according to what everyone was saying in the movie, and people’s reactions to the very mention of his name, but day-to-day, the guy just didn’t act so badass and even came off a little sensitive in certain scenes (the man draws pictures of fuckin’ birds, yo).

And I realize that every character has an arc to go through, but I ultimately didn’t like where his character’s arc ended. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I wish his actions would have been different in the end scenes. In relation to that, the film’s conclusion didn’t really blow me away, in terms of the storyline, but thankfully for us, its gun battles were pretty fun to watch, especially as the film wound down. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the film’s stronger points, along with its score, cinematography and plays on morality, and that would be the performance by Ben Foster, who takes a small-ish role as the “sidekick” and really brings on the menace, the grit, the killings and heck…the fuckin’ inner-cowboy! I think I would have preferred had he been the lead instead of Crowe’s character…I mean, this dude didn’t take shit from anybody…now that’s a bad guy!! I’m also gonna try and purchase myself a similar looking leather button-clad coat off Ebay, just so that I can pretend that I’m half as cool as Foster’s character. Go Ben!

Gretchen Mol (remember her from ROUNDERS?) and Peter Fonda also provided some interesting secondary characters, and I gotta give props to the kid who played Bale’s defiant son in the film as well, Logan Lerman. By the way, is it possible that his character grows up to become Billy the Kid? (his name is William, he’s badass, his dad’s a sharpshooter and he was only 14 at the time) Things that make you go hmmmmm? The film isn’t perfect – including an odd appearance by Luke Wilson and a doctor joining them for the ride, which didn’t seem to make much sense to me – but overall, it was a darn entertaining Western featuring some top-notch performances by cool men actors, including a memorable turn by Ben Foster and plenty of gunplay for…well, people who love the gunplay. Oh and actress Vinessa Shaw is very hot.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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