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Cowboys & Aliens

USA 2011
produced by
Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Bobby Cohen (executive), Jon Favreau (executive), Randy Greenberg (executive), Ryan Kavanaugh (executive), Steven Spielberg (executive), Denis L. Stewart (executive) for Imagine Entertainment, K/O Paper Products, Fairview Entertainment, Platinum Studios, K/O Camera Toys, DreamWorks, Reliance Entertainment, Relativity Media/Universal
directed by Jon Favreau
starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Keith Carradine, Paul Dano, Abigail Spencer, Buck Taylor, Matthew Taylor, Cooper Taylor, Clancy Brown, Chris Browning, Adam Beach, Sam Rockwell, Ana de la Reguera, Noah Ringer, Brian Duffy, Brendan Wayne, Gavin Grazer, Toby Huss, Wyatt Russell, Jimmy Jatho, Kenny Call, Walton Goggins, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Garret Noël, David O'Hara, Troy Gilbert, Chad Randall, Scout Schoenfeld Hendrickson, Raoul Max Trujillo, David Midthunder, Mo Brings Plenty, Phillip Pike, Calum Blaylock, Paul Ortega
story by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Steve Oedekerk, screenplay by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, based on the comicbook by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, published by Platinum Studios, music by Harry Gregson-Williams, miniatures and special effects by Kerner Optical, alien creature effects by Legacy Effects, visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Shade VFX

review by
Mike Haberfelner



The Old West: Jake (Daniel Craig), a stranger with no memory but wearing a futuristic bracelet, drifts into town, and when he stands up to local bully Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano), he earns the respect of the citizens - even if the sheriff (Keith Carradine) has to arrest both him and Percy in the process - much to the dismay of old man Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), the richest man in town and father to Percy of course. But before he can even make an attempt to free his son, alien spaceships attack that pretty much fish for locals to abduct in the busy streets. Of course, human weapons are useless against these ships, only Jake's bracelet works ...

After the attack, Jake, Dolarhyde and a mysterious woman called Ella (Olivia Wilde) who is of course to become Jake's main squeeze before long, are quick to organize a search party - but further alien attacks as well as an attack by Jake's former gang, decimate the posse pretty much constantly, even Ella is killed. But then our heroes are surrounded by Apaches, who at first take them captive, but when Ella returns from the dead - you see, she's actually a shape-shifting alien trying to protect humankind from those other aliens -, she manages to persuade the Apaches to join the posse and attack the aliens, and she shows Jake, who apparently has been abducted by the aliens but managed to escape, how to use his bracelet to track down the alien mothership - which is on earth to mine gold no less.

So ultimately, our motley crew attacks the ship both from the inside and the outside, but thing is, the aliens are pretty strong and pretty near invulnerable, and they don't really enjoy interference and have no reservations killing a few of these pesky humans ...

 

Now while the idea to blend science fiction and western was by no means a new one - see 1935's The Phantom Empire for example -, it was still pretty novel in 2011 ... and this film makes the least of it, really, in fact it feels completely generic, just using genre mainstays without the least of panache. And the story that's just bluntly straightforward and peopled by hollow characters doesn't really help to make this more than a dull science fiction action flick in cowboy hats, and the total lack of the "fun"-feeling the title suggests isn't a plus either. At least the acting's quite alright, and the thing's well-paced, so the film's not a complete trainwreck - it's just not very good, and it totally fails to deliver on its promise.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD