This is, of course, the remake from the 1957 version that starred Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. I haven’t seen that one, but now I’d like to if for nothing else than to compare it. Naturally, the 2007 version is chock-full of bullets and bloody squibs. And it’s quite good. It seems that the longer I live in Arizona, the more I seem to enjoy the Western-style movies, mostly because I get a kick out of trying to figure out if the film was actually made in Arizona. This one was made in New Mexico — it’s pretty obvious by the lack of saguaros, which are plentiful in the areas near Bisbee and Tombstone, which was a “sister city” to Contention, where a chunk of this movie takes place. But it works well despite the modicum of modern silliness that always seems to happen in movies like this. The Hubster (who is an Arizona native) and I like to play a game we call “No Way!”, which is what we shout when we see something in a movie that makes no sense in reality, such as the Russell Crowe character whistling to his horse as he’s on the moving train, which of course the horse hears and is perfectly willing to canter alongside the train for 275 miles.
On another note, as an American, sometimes I have to roll my eyes at “foreigners” — in this case, Russell Crowe (Australian) and Christian Bale (British) — playing quintessential American roles. We don’t seem to have Glenn Fords, Van Heflins, or even Lee Van Cleefs anymore, it seems. On the other hand, I read that the original choice for the Ben Wade/Russell Crowe role was none other than Tom Cruise, which would have been an unmitigated disaster. Ugh. Seriously? As both the Hubster and I would shout: