Director: Jon Favreau
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 17th August 2011
Watched at the cinema Saturday 20th August 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I must admit I was intrigued by this one when I first heard about it almost a year ago. In recent weeks I have seen the trailer several times and this has only intensified my interest. Despite a few poor reviews from across the pond I was still determined to make my own mind up (as I do with most things) and so when it came up at my local cinema I was there. While it’s neither the greatest Western ever made, nor the greatest Sci-Fi film ever made, I still found it very entertaining, exciting and just about everything you’d want to fill a damp Saturday afternoon. I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.
When a man is found in the wilderness with no knowledge of who he is or how he came to be there, it intrigued me. When this man finds a strange metal bracelet on his wrist and defends himself with great skill against a group of drifters, I was hooked. The man, who we later find out, is Jake Lonergan, rides into the local town only to find he is a wanted man. A mysterious woman, Ella Swenson, keeps asking him questions that he can’t answer. A local rancher, a powerful man, Woodrow Dolarhyde, comes into town because Lonergan had had a run in with his son, Percy. Just as Lonergan is to be taken away by Marshals, there is an attack by a group of aliens in strange flying craft. Lonergan manages to bring one down using the bracelet, which appears to be some kind of weapon. Its occupant, however, escapes into the dark. During the attack several of the townsfolk are kidnapped, including Percy, and it’s now up to a small band, put together by Dolarhyde, to track the alien and bring back those victims. Many secrets are revealed on the way about Lonergan’s past and Ella Swenson’s secret, but I cannot say more or the alien branch of the Spoiler Police will have me abducted (again).
A very well made film with some excellent CGI. All of the battle scenes were outstandingly choreographed with some great stunts, hats off to those guys. Performance-wise, everyone was very good; Daniel Craig did a decent job as Jake Lonergan, although I felt the role didn’t come all the naturally to him. Harrison Ford was excellent, as ever, as the crotchety Woodrow Dolarhyde. Olivia Wilde was great as the mysterious Ella Swenson and Sam Rockwell played the barkeeper Doc with his usual skill.
If I have one criticism of the production, it’s that a lot of the action took place in the dark, which made it difficult to see just who was fighting who (or what) half the time. It’s lucky this one wasn’t made in 3D or the 3D fans (who don’t include me) would have had a hell of a time! The aliens were suitable scary, well designed, if I was younger they might have given me nightmares. Over all though, I found it a much more entertaining film than the title might suggest… Recommended.
My score: 6.8/10
IMDb Score: 6.6/10 (based on 14,756 votes when this review was written).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45/100 (based on 209 reviews counted when this review was written).