Appaloosa This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 5, 2009
Before I begin this review, I'd like to say that I love the Western genre. There have been plenty of great cinematic experiences that have come from the Western genre of film with recent entries such as 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford or with amazing classics like The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly or Once Upon A Time In The West. With a great atmosphere of amorality, tense gunfights, and BA characters - regardless of whether we can relate to them - the Western has proven itself to be an epic and large part of cinema.

This movie, however, is just plain bad.

The plot centers around two gunslingers, Vigil and Everett, who are hired to protect the small town of Appaloosa after the murder of its deputy and marshal by a gang of outlaws. The premise, which sounds genuinely interesting, falls fast with poor acting, a paper-thin plot, and nonsensical character decisions.

We'll begin with the poor acting. Even 'ole Viggo, well-known for playing Aragorn in the The Lord of The Rings trilogy, gives a pretty sad performance. All of the dialogue is given in such a wooden, monotone-like voice that it's hard to really be interested in what's going on, as it seems none of the actors themselves really seem interested either.

Next, this plot not only takes importance over the characters and their development, but the plot's not even that good to begin with. Throughout the entire film, we're taken from Point to B to C with the plot leading the characters, instead of the characters leading the story.We're never really given much time with these people, these characters, to know enough about them. Because of this, whenever a tense scene comes up, it's hard to really care because we never got to know these characters ergo we really don't care whether they live or die.

These characters' decisions is perhaps another to not care about, perhaps even dislike, the characters themselves. These characters, ESPECIALLY the main characters, make perhaps the most illogical and nonsensical decisions I've ever seen in film, not including the Transformers movies. For instance, after meeting newcomer Allison, a widow with only a dollar to her name, Virgil decides that he's in love with her, wants to settle down in Appaloosa, and quit the gunslinger business...after only knowing her for one day...this occurs during the first twenty minutes of the movie. What.The.Eff. Then, when she cheats on him with the main antagonist (THREE TIMES), Virgil still finds it in him to forget that.

The timing of this film is also pretty lame, especially considering the action sequences. The action goes by so fast that we don't really have time to register what just happened. While you could argue this was done to be realistic, going too fast doesn't mean a revisionist Western has to be without tension.

The visuals aren't that bad. Though they focus too much on historical accuracy, it does look pretty alright sometimes. Not much to say other than that...

However, despite much of the suck, there are some "OK" parts of the film. For instance, right before the gunfight between Virgil/Everett and the outlaws near the end of the film, some tension is provided along with some alright music it set the mood. We're left, once again, with disappointment though as the battle literally goes by in 20 - 30 seconds. That, and there is ONE scene of character development in the film between the two main leads - in this scene, Virgil tells Everett that his emotions hinder him from becoming a great gunslinger. The narration at the beginning of the film made Appaloosa seem promising as well, however, it's only used during the opening and ending of the film, making the thing seem useless other than to make the movie 'look cool'.

While the film does have some OK visuals, it lacks the heart, emotion, and tension present in the Western genre. The film drags, not caring about its characters or pace, and the only thing that gets accomplished in the film is getting from the beginning to the end. No themes, no message, no cool or memorable characters - nothing.

3/10 - Bad

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