Tuesday 30 July 2013

Today's Review: The Lone Ranger

A Jerry Bruckheimer produced Disney movie with Johnny Depp? What is this, Cowboys Of The Caribbean? Well, kinda, but it's actually The Lone Ranger.

Based on the good old fashioned American icon, The Lone Ranger is a bang up to date explosive action western. Armie Hammer stars as John Reid, a prosecutor en route to his hometown when he stumbles into an escape attempt by notorious outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). After narrowly escaping death, and gaining a prisoner in the form of native Indian Tonto (Johnny Depp), John and his brother set out with the Texas Rangers to hunt Cavendish down. But when things go south and John is left for dead and alone, it is up to him to pick up the pieces and fight for revenge and justice, aided by the now-escaped, and quite eccentric, Tonto.

Yes, this is a revenge movie at heart, and all the cliches are there. The double crosses, the twists, the damsel. It was actually turning into a bit of a slog getting through it by the end. Clocking in at 149 minutes, the story certainly drags its heels, dealing too much with quiet scenes that do less to develop characters and explain plot than to simply show off Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow-esque character.

This is where part of the problem of the movie lies. The performances are nothing too special, although an almost unrecognisable Fichtner does do a good job of playing the villain. But Johnny Depp is clearly the major selling point of this movie, and is clearly meant to be mirroring his success as Jack Sparrow, and he just ends up being a shadow of that character. In The Lone Ranger, Tonto is a sidekick, and Depp is clearly too much of a character to play second fiddle, and watching him play a more subdued character is something of a jarring experience. There are certainly moments where Depp shines, and most of the comic relief and slapstick come from him, but as a character on the whole Tonto is not very engaging.

However, as drawn out as the plot is, when the action starts up it certainly is entertaining. The action scenes are wonderfully put together, and the final moments in particular were very fun to watch, once all the exposition and cliche had been put to one side. This is a Hollywood movie at heart, and Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski have certainly proved their chops in the past when delivering the action in the Caribbean movies. The Lone Ranger is no different in that respect, it's just that it deals with a far less engaging plot and some really very boring characters. I don't regret watching it, but there's certainly better stuff I could have done with my time.

My rating: 2/5

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