Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Lone Ranger


Riding for Justice

8.5 out of 10 | Movie or DVD

Rated: PG-13 Sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material
Release Date: July 3, 2013
Runtime: 2 hours 29 minutes

Director: Gore Verbinski
Writers: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter, Barry Pepper, Willam Fichtner, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Harry Treadaway, Lew Temple

SYNOPSIS:  Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

REVIEW: Director Gore Verbinski became a hard-to-pronounce household name after the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He returns for a much dryer film, trading the vast allure of the oceans for the plains and deserts of Colby, Texas. The retelling of the Lone Ranger is scribed by Justin Haythe (Snitch), and Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (The Pirates of the Caribbean series), galloping in a different direction for an American born western legend

John Reid (Armie Hammer, Mirror, Mirror) travels to Colby, Texas as the new county prosecutor. On his train is Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner, Date Night), a wanted Indian hunter who is shackled and being returned to Colby to stand trial. Also in shackles is a Comanche Indian named Tonto (Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows). After Cavendish's gang breaks him out of the train's stock car, Reid and Tonto are thrown together until Reid puts him behind bars in his brother Dan's (James Badge Dale, World War Z) jail. When Dan, John, and six other Texas rangers ride off in pursuit of the escaped Cavindish and his men, an ambush sets Reid onto in a spirit course to Tonto. Both looking for justice - Reid for his brother's murder and Tonto for wrongs from his past - Reid dons a mask as the Lone Ranger to pursue and hunt down Cavindish. What they don't realize is that Cavindish is not the only snake in the hot desert to deal with?

The creative team that created The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise return to rewrite the exploits of one of America's most famous masked cowboys. Spanning decades since its inception, the stories of the Lone Ranger have delighted audiences on radio shows, movie serials, comics, novels, television series and feature films. If you were a young boy of the 40s or 50s, you more than likely donned the black mask of this protector of the innocent. But who is that masked man?

Armie Hammer plays the Lone Ranger as a reluctant hero, a pacifist more comfortable with words than with a six shooter. Swearing justice for his brother, Hammer's Ranger is still willing to let Justice carry the day. It's not until the plot thickens and his brother's wife Rebecca (Ruth Wilson, Anna Karenina) and son Danny (Bryant Prince) are in peril that he dons the black mask for justice and vengeance. Johnny Depp, to his typical method, takes Tonto in a different direction that the familiar faithful servant and companion of the Lone Ranger in the character's previous incarnations. He is a half crazed Comanche outcast more willing to speak to white spirit horses and feed a dead raven on the top of his head then to other people. Even his own tribe has turned their back on him and his obsessive pursuits. The threats that both Reid and Tonto face comes in the form of William Fichtner's Butch Cavendish, a hair lipped and scarred brute who has no qualms about cutting a man's heart out and eating it. Even his own outlaw gang shows him a healthy amount of fear and respect. Tom Wilkinson (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) plays Latham Cole, a man who is an employee of the transcontinental railroad and who does whatever he needs to do to get his company's railroad connected to the West Coast in time. Barry Pepper returns from Snitch as Captain Jay Fuller, a Cavarly commander who may have decimated a native tribe for the wrong reasons, and Helena Bonham Carter (Les Misérables) plays the madame of prostitutes who has her own reasons to hate Cavindish. Harry Treadaway (Cockneys vs Zombies) makes an impression as Frank, one of Cavindish's outlaws.

Like with tPotC, Verbinski makes the Lone Ranger into an epic size action-packed Western – untethered by the constraints of practical stunts and squib bursting saloon gunfights. There is plenty of six shooting and repeating rifle battles, and horse chases, and train robberies, but the director uses a lot of CGI to oversize the thrills. Some of the effects are derivatives of Buster Keaton, but other effects are not as seamless as they could have been. From buffaloes to some sequences of the trains, the effects could have been better if they could have used the real thing. I know that is a tall order – especially with the cost of filmmaking – but sometimes the old ways are still the best.

The Lone Ranger is a great reimagining of a classic western hero. It is fun and as over-the-top as it should be for a summertime flick. Depp does a great job as comic relief in the form of the off-center Tonto and Armie Hammer does justice as the blond haired and blue righteous law keeper. Some of the story is true to the genre, becoming predictable for any fans who has watched AMC's Hell on Wheels or Two Mules for Sister Sarah, but it all works out as a fun and enjoyable ride.

"If we ride together, we ride for justice". That line was spoken by the Lone Ranger to Tonto. With a Hi-Ho Silver, Away, the Lone Ranger's white hat and black mask may be just what the summer needs.

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