Directed by Ed Harris

Every resurgent genre needs a set of pale imitators to go with its breakthroughs, and to that end we have Appaloosa, a staunchly traditional Western helmed by Ed Harris, who also co-stars and co-wrote the film’s screenplay. That means he’s partially to blame for the film’s greatest setback: its unimaginative plot and lazy characterization.

Harris and Viggo Mortensen play a two-man peacekeeping force operating in New Mexico territory in the mid-1800s. They help stabilize budding towns by becoming the town’s legal enforcers, then move on when there’s no more money to be made. They arrive in the eponymous town seeking to contain a fast-drawing hoodlum (Jeremy Irons) who’s wanted for multiple murders. Things get complicated – in the most contrived possible fashion – when a lonely widow (Renee Zellweger) arrives and pais up with Harris’ grizzled gunslinger, despite his protestations that “feelings get you killed.”

The screenplay’s problems are legion, and most involve a lack of dramatic exploitation. There’s always fun to be had when you’ve got Irons in a fiendish capacity, but he’s not given anything to work with beyond a capacity for a quick draw and a few dry quips. There’s potential in the idea of these roving “peacekeepers” and the ways in which they establish and enforce laws of their choosing, but that dimension lays unexplored. Most egregiously of all, however, is the inclusion of Zellweger’s character Ally – one of the least useful love interests in recent memory. She pouts and philanders seemingly without motive or method beyond the idea that she simply goes for the alpha dog – even by Western standards it’s a ridiculously misogynistic character, and Zellweger is stuck grimacing her way through it. A major disappointment.

Simon Howell

Add Comment

50 CEOs Who Never Went to College (and how they managed to succeed)
10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
25 Bachelor Party Movie Ideas
People playing the clarinet
10 Different Types of Clarinets
11 Different Types of Drums
7 Different Types of Roller Coasters
A bowl of oatmeal porridge
7 Different Types of Porridge
Shots of tequila
5 Different Types of Tequila (Plus Tequila Cocktails)
Fresh kale in a bowl
10 Different Types of Kale
8 Different Types of Cantaloupes
A Man in a Suit Opening a Car’s Door
9 Different Types of Car Doors
Headlights of a black car
9 Different Types of Headlights
19 Different Types of Construction Vehicles
Fire Truck with Warm Yellow Lights
9 Different Types of Fire Trucks
54 Different Types of Sports Played (Individual and Team Sports)
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
16 Different Types of Technology
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Camera Stores for the Perfect Pics