American Outlaws (2001)

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American Outlaws: Directed by Les Mayfield. With Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, Ali Larter, Gabriel Macht. 5 Southern friends return home when the war ends 1865. But Yankee soldiers and Pinkerton are busy helping a railroad baron grab land from farmers along the planned railroad west. The 5 friends fight back.

“I knew not to expect much from AMERICAN OUTLAWS. The glory days of westerns are long gone, and the new ones canu0026#39;t all be SILVERADOs and WYATT EARPs. But I was expecting to at least have a fun time, even if it was another film that portrayed real-life bad guys as the u0026quot;heroesu0026quot; of the movie.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eEven on just a level of pure entertainment, AMERICAN OUTLAWS didnu0026#39;t score that well. Iu0026#39;m not sure why, but this film was just bland most of the time, and the actors (despite some talented ones in the parts) just seemed to walk through the performances, as if they were simply trying to just get the whole thing over with. Even the versatile Timothy Dalton seemed to be at a lost as to what to do.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAnd the characters themselves were terrible. By the end of the film, we still knew nothing about any of them. I like to have at least some understanding of the characters in a film. Whether theyu0026#39;re the good guys or the bad guys, at least give me something about them to understand, sympathize with, or relate to. Sure, Frank and Jessie wanted revenge for a personal tragedy, but the depiction of that tragedy is handled so lazily we often forget about it for the rest of the film. The other characters tagging along with the brothers do so to make a stand against the railroad tycoon (Harris Yulin), but again, we donu0026#39;t get anything from them personally to make us root for their success.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eA couple of the action scenes are nicely-executed, if sometimes over the top. The Hyperion job is the standout sequence of the entire film, as the James-Younger gang must fight their way out of a trap while attempting to rob a bank. And Trevor Rabinu0026#39;s exciting score (which I had already bought a few months ago and really enjoyed) helped make some of the boring parts seem more important.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003ePerhaps if the script had treated the material seriously and if the director had stayed awake during the shoot, it might have at least passed as a good time-waster for a dull Saturday night.”

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