Woulda coulda shoulda been better, Cowboys and Aliens had potential.
Contrivance and Happenstance team up to give us this one, which makes it both too easy and too hard to explain or describe. It’s not so much about story.. Cowboys and Aliens is all based on characters and events that make little sense.
Insert [Western cliche archetypes] here.
- Wacky gun owning, boozing, preacher dude, the always fun Clancy Brown.
- Meek Doc-slash-barkeep, Sam Rockwell doing the 2-sport player not to mention the funny bits from the trailer that I swear DO NOT make the movie.
- Tough ex-military cattleman, Harrison Ford is the person who really runs the town right over Sheriff Keith Carradine, and runs his ranch with the help of puppy-love adopted Indian son and piece of shit biological progeny.
- Really tough badass outlaw with mysterious past, Daniel Craig attracts the interest of the obligatory chick Olivia Wilde, the woman who seems to know something.
- Oh, there are also dogs, horses, other “gotta earn their respect first” Indians, idiot criminals and yes, Aliens (bad guys).
I don’t get it. Many things went wrong here but let’s start with:
Aliens with superior technology who like all villains, cannot shoot straight. They need us to fuel The Matrix or maybe just for snacks. The whole thing has to do with gold, but really it’s all about the “reluctant” teaming of Indiana Jones and James Bond or should I say, Jason Bourne.
Colonel Harrison Ford wants to run his ranch, his town and his kid without being addressed as Colonel. Fine. But WTH is with the tough nose Father type, who seems to command the fear and respect of everyone, raising such a spoiled snot-nosed asshole for a son. Then in classic bad TV fashion, always bailing him out of trouble, letting him get away with his shit. Like shouldn’t he have raised a better (biological) son?
Then there’s Craig who wakes up not so much Cowboy Jake as Jason Bourne. Seriously, not just the amnesia and the all too convenient Alien weapon on his arm. Everything from the bad ass fighting kung-fu skills, near super-human ability to heal, unbelievable aim, instant ‘stand up to the idiot’ tough town protector and so much more is kinda ridiculous. Which is I guess what draws Wilde to him.
Not so much. Little passes for humor which is sad considering what Firefly and Serenity did with the Space Western. Little passes for suspense and scares, since Super 8 did this better and we know the good guys will win. Little emotion or character depth is produced, even going to some of the most tried-and-true wells for pathos and connection with any of these characters.
Nothing makes sense as to how easily things come to Craig other than he’s the star of the movie. I.E. When he wakes up in the desert almost nekid and is beset upon by some ruffians, he not only easily takes them out.. but manages to strip them to put together an ensemble of fashionable duds conveniently tailored to within a millimeter of Daniel Craig’s hot body.
Final Snark: Yes James Bond‘s ass looks great enhanced by leather chaps and if that’s your porn, go for it. Otherwise, wait for cable and Netflix Serentity instead.