I hated the ending. And
that, after I was all ready to enjoy a good, modern Western, even if it's
awkward in places.
Marshall Dillon (Guy Pearce) is a former Texas Ranger who doesn't
want to carry a gun any more, because of an incident where he accidentally
shot his former partner who was in a chokehold from the bad guy.
Nobody really blamed him, but he blamed himself plenty.
Enough to semi-retire to this sleepy little town where nothing
really bad happens. His (only)
deputy is eager to make a deposit at the (only) bank so he can flirt with
the new teller. Marshall
indulgently allows it, because it's about time for him to get his coffee
at the (only) cafe, where he's interested in the (only) waitress, Amanda
(Barbie Blank). She looks a
little rough around the edges, just the right “Miss Kitty” in “Gunsmoke,”
for which this movie is clearly an homage.
But the usually-quiet town is in for a bad surprise.
A gang of motorcycle toughs decide to target it for a bank heist.
Their first gambit is to pick a fight in the cafe and see if they
can get one of their members arrested.
Then, while the lawmen are engaged escorting him to the County
Jail, the gang rides in to do their nefarious deeds.
But our intrepid Marshall is already one step ahead of them.
Anticipating this might be a diversion, he sends his deputy to
transport the prisoner himself, while he stays behind, expecting more
trouble. And very soon it
arrives. The outlaws quickly
hit the bank, and take the employees and customers hostage.
They then await the arrival of the armored truck from the casino,
to rob that cash deposit, as well.
The Bad Guys are mean, all right.
So mean that they intimidate the innocent and kill anyone who tries
to oppose them. So mean that
they wear a tattoo on their forearms which says, “Never Forgive,” in
Latin, no less. (We prefer our
outlaws to be well-educated.) So
mean that while holding the hostages in the (only) church, one of them
takes communion bread from the table and eats it!
(So we add sacrilege to their resumes of infamy.)
Marshall Dillon, though captured, manages to escape, and set
various booby traps for the outlaw gang.
(He's apparently well-versed in explosives.)
He also even manages to “turn” the bad guy he captured himself
(two ex-Marines deciding that “Semper Fi” transcends all other
loyalties). Now it's a deadly
game of hide-and-seek, while the Deputy tries to summon help from the
We're all ready to root for the good guys here, until the end,
which is such a disappointment. While
we don't expect 20 television seasons like the original “Gunsmoke”
enjoyed, at the very least, we might hope that this Marshall Dillon would
return, but only if he re-takes Good Guy 101, and makes a passing grade
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association