Director: Jon Favreau
“Cowboys & Aliens” is about a bunch of cowboys. Who fight some aliens. Well, you can’t accuse Hollywood of not following the rule of ‘Truth in Advertising.’
A mysterious stranger (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of the Old West with no memory, a strange bracelet attached to his arm and a nagging feeling that something very weird has happened. He finds the nearest town and soon discovers that he’s notorious outlaw Jake Lonergan wanted by the local sherriff and local kingpin Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford, who plays slightly against type in a good performance). But soon all rivalries are forgotten when strange creatures attack the town and make off with some of the townspeople. The remaining folks saddle up and ride into the desert with the hopes of fighting the aliens and bringing their people back.
After putting tongue firmly in cheek for the “Iron Man” movies, director Jon Favreau ramps up the seriousness for his latest film. In some ways it’s nice to see, with a sober take on the western genre colliding with the slam bang action of sci-fi. But it does start to become rather tiring especially as Craig – who is attempting to do mysterious and stoic – comes across as slightly bland. The action sequences are well done, though they are sometimes obscured by some murky cinematography which – whilst undoubtedly being true to the time – makes it difficult to actually see what is going on. The film also manages to squander an interesting set-up with lengthy scenes of explanation later on in the movie which seem forced and rather clunky.
Yet, despite its many flaws, there is a certain charm to the film with the simple idea working well and some good ideas amongst a rather flabby running time. Favreau clearly knows how to stage action and – when it’s possible to see it – there are some very exciting moments indeed.
Not the Boys Own Adventure it could have been, but a fun – if often flawed – romp.