Friday, January 4, 2008

3:10 to Yuma DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Remake of Classic Western Comes to DVD

Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is a down-and-out rancher struggling to save his cattle during a drought. After losing a leg in the Civil War, the proud veteran had moved to Arizona with his family, expecting to be able to settle there in peace. But with his property standing in the path of a proposed railroad, he now finds himself facing the prospect of foreclosure.

With his failings as a provider taking a toll on his personal life, Dan is also close to losing both his wife’s (Gretchen Mol) affection and the respect of his 14 year-old son (Logan Lerman). As luck would have it, an opportunity for both redemption and cash conveniently arrive when ruthless Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), the most wanted man in the West, is collared and needs to be transported across the desert.

The infamous outlaw heads the murderous gang behind a string of stagecoach robberies around the region. Wade’s confederates are still at-large and lying in wait, so bringing him to justice will be no easy matter. Nonetheless, Dan jumps at the chance to earn $200 as a member of the hastily deputized posse being led by a bounty hunter (Peter Fonda).

What could be better than a character-driven Western in which Christian Bale and Russell Crowe spend more time matching wits and swapping philosophies than firing pistols or punching each other? This is precisely what we have in this relatively-cerebral remake of the 1957 classic starring Glenn Ford.

Though this intriguing psychological drama does unfold against the genre’s familiar staples such as sweeping, big sky panoramas, ten-gallon hats, a honky-tonk saloon and bloodthirsty Injuns, it has much more to offer than your typical Western. A complicated cowboy flick where you don’t know whether to root for the guys in the white or the black hats.

Very good (3 stars)
Rated R for violence and profanity.
Running time: 122 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, director’s commentary, a documentary entitled “Destination Yuma,” plus two featurettes.

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