Jake Lonergan is not your father’s kinda cowboy. For one, he looks nothing like Clint Eastwood, and a lot like a tight-trousered muscular brute that might have been water-coloured onto the cover of a pulp novel aimed at the ladies. For another, he is played by a British actor struggling quite gamely with his accent. And he’s got a shiny piece of jewelry on his left wrist that no self-respecting cowpoke would be seen dead with.
Fear not however, because this cowboy kicks ass with the best of them.
If you’ve watched any of the trailers, you know this much – Lonergan (Daniel Craig) woke up in the desert with that big hunk of metal attached to his wrist. He doesn’t remember much, he is quick with a gun, or his fists, he has a previous beef with Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and when aliens attack the town, he is the only one with any firepower that can cause the flying vessels any damage, i.e., the bracelet.
Several people are taken by the flying ships during the first attack, including Dolarhyde’s son (Paul Dano), the town’s sheriff (Keith Carradine) and the wife (Ana de la Reguera) of the local watering hole’s proprietor (Sam Rockwell) so the people that survived the attack have a reason to go after the aliens. Also along for the ride is the mysterious Ella (Olivia Wilde) who seems to know more about Lonergan than he does himself.
Now all of this setup gives us as much of a mystery film as it does a Western. How did Jake get the bracelet? Why has he lost his memory? What do the aliens want? And will the people of this pre-Apple computers era (yes that would be an Independence Day reference) be able to bring down a superior (and ugly) species?
I had fun watching Cowboys and Aliens.
My quibbles with it were minor and even though that first act is a tough one to follow, I thought it came together quite nicely. There is a certain built-in disappointment in adding up all pieces because we live in a world where audiences have seen so much that there are very few scenarios that will appear totally new or totally satisfactory to a large enough group of people.
Cowboys and Aliens is not as effortless-seeming as director Jon Favreau’s best film to date (which would be Iron Man) but it was cool to watch these hard men attempt to leave their mark on a hard country during hard times.
My recommendation of this film is wholehearted. It is fun, the idea of adding aliens to the cowboy landscape is genius and all cast members play their parts as if they were born for the gig. Shame about Daniel Craig’s accent but it is not a major deal breaker in this case.