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American Outlaws

Colin Farrell , Scott Caan , Les Mayfield    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

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Product Description

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If you're looking for a showcase for emerging Hollywood talent, American Outlaws is just the ticket. Its handsome young stars, playing Jesse and Frank James and gang, crack wise as if they were in a contemporary high school locker room. Combining authentic costumes and sets with stunt work befitting a Jackie Chan comedy, accompanied by an "Old West" soundtrack that's anything but old and only marginally Western, the film yields a few enjoyable highlights. Seasoned genre buffs, however, will cringe at the movie's clash of visual qualities, as well as the dialogue, which, while not as heinous as that in Maverick, is on par with Young Guns in terms of non-period flavor. It's not exactly a testament to the enduring potential of the authentic Western that was realized by Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, made barely a decade before.

With all the light-hearted action and character interplay, it's hard to tell if director Les Mayfield (Flubber) is taking the material seriously, but this much is certain: the Jesse James here (played with effortless appeal by Tigerland newcomer Colin Farrell) and his brother Frank (Gabriel Macht) have almost no connection to historical fact. Nor do their fellow farm-raised gang members, the Younger brothers Cole (Scott Caan), Bob (Will McCormack), and Jim (Gregory Smith). (And Jesse's fiancée, played by Ali Larter, looks like she dropped in from a Gap commercial.) The gang's post-Civil War battle against a ruthless railroad baron (Harris Yulin) and his Pinkerton henchman (Timothy Dalton) seems arbitrary, irrational (since farmers typically welcomed railroads, not fought them), and riddled with clichés, turning the movie's bloodless shootouts into another opportunity for pretty-boy preening. --Jeff Shannon


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars poor quality May 29 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
disc appears to be well used and skips and does not play all the way through. disapointed in the overall quality
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The action scenes in this movie are GREAT. I can get past all the other stupid stuff in this movie just to watch those. I think they should have cut out the part where they come back home and chat with all their friends because that just slows down the movie, but once you get past all that, the movie just keeps you jumping in your seat. Yes, the actors' lines are kind of dumb in some parts (only SOME parts!!) and Ali Larter is not the best actress, and sometimes Colin Farrell forgets he's not supposed to be Irish in this movie and Scott Caan still sounds too much like he's not out of high school yet- but hey it's not all that bad. There's a good plot and lots of humour and good fight scenes. If you're not a super overly critical and picky person you'll find yourself a decent movie that's entertaining and has a good ending. The Special Features are great. They give you a lot of inside info into the making which is always a treat to watch after seeing a good movie. Go for it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD, VERY BAD June 16 2004
Format:DVD
Can somebody believe those baby face actors, look like tough cowboys? I've always seen men playing cowboys in films, not smooth-faced teens. And who had the idea to put a rap in a western movie? If Colin Farrel wants to be a good actor he musn't accept these characters, and Scott Caan is very far from be that good actor his father is. And Ali LArter? She looks like a Barbie in cowgirl disguise, it takes more than a pretty face and whipped cream bikini to be a good actress.
Keeo your money in your pocket and buy one of those good old western movies, you'll see good actors and good movies with good plots. Not this nonsense.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Jesse James in Florida!!?? Come On! Aug. 2 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
......I can get past certain anomalies, such as Ma James dying in the Pinkerton attack & Jessie & Frank serving together in the Rebel army. In the extras the director justifies diverting from established myth by claiming that no one knows for sure what really happened. Really? Some details may be arguable but it is fairly established that Jesse was murdered in his home and the Younger brothers spent much of their last years in prison.
......Having said that, the first half, even two thirds of the movie is quite entertaining. Forget the ridiculous unreality of the war scenes & the bank shoot-outs. Far too much attention is paid to the arguing over who was the leader and what the name of the gang should be, though it did provide some comic relief. Less worthy was Bob Younger's insistence on getting more recognition on the wanted posters, even in those days outlaws would surely want to keep a low profile. Maybe the "good will" they were supposedly creating with the locals in order to hide from Pinkerton justified that a bit, there is some suggestion the gang did engage in publicity & self promotion.
......Totally off the rails to have Jesse & Zee flee to Florida & get married. And then Pinkerton catches him & is taking him to Washington for a "fair" trial. And then Zee & the Youngers rescue him from the train!!! Please!!! Pinkerton advising him to go to Tennessee as he would have no interest in pursuit there as the railroad has no interest there. Suspending belief is one thing, going crackers is another.
.......Not a bad way to spend 90 minutes, amusing, some good action, but never, never, even close to a definitive Jesse James story. Much better movies have been made, this one is almost a waste of the budget.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pass the popcorn... March 14 2005
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Forget about history, this is strictly eye candy...Irish sweetheart Colin Farrell and the boys ride horses, shoot guns and trade quips. The villains are villainous, the heroes are heroic & there's enough action to keep the guys reasonably happy while the girls can enjoy a shirtless scene or two featuring hunky Colin, who manages to keep the brogue out of his voice. What's really surprising to me is that he followed the amazing "Tigerland" with this piece of forgettable fluff. But I forgive him :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The South might've won... May 28 2004
Format:DVD
I liked the movie American Outlaws. Even though hollywood took its creative liberties or whatever you want to call it with the historical facts, it still was an awesome movie! The Younger farm was in Lee's Summit, MO and the James farm was in Kearney, MO definitely more than a days ride by horse between the two. Other than that it is a story told by the southerners and southern sympathizers from the north. This is definitely the story we didn't hear in the yankee schools of the north. If you're looking for a cool western with the look and feel of the civil war and young america in missouri, then this is for you. My favorite was Gabriel Macht, who portrayed Frank James. All the characters played well off of each other but his character held the gang together he was the intelligent calm voice of reason. So enjoy this is a funny dramatic western all rolled up into one!
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4.0 out of 5 stars COLIN GOES WEST May 23 2004
Format:DVD
The incredibly gifted Colin Farrell once again pulls a good one: an Irishman playing Jesse James. But give the guy credit: he does a very good job, although not up to par to some of his other work (Recruit, Hart's War, Tigerland). Obviously not a fact-based work, AMERICAN OUTLAWS, under the astute direction of Les Mayfield, nonetheless is an entertaining western, filled with anachronistic dialogue and music, but also filled with heart, humor and adventure in mind. In this version, Jesse and his brother Frank (well envisioned by Gabriel Macht) and his cousins, the Youngers (Scott Caan, Will McCormack and Gregory Smith) are fighting in the Civil War where we get to see Frank's expert shooting and Jesse's wildass courage and outright idiocy! The war is now over so everyone returns home to find that the railroad companies are forcing farmers to sell them their land. Kathy Bates in a brief but memorable turn plays the James mother, and when she is killed by Pinkerton detectives, the boys take matters into their own.
Wayfield plays the gang as a Robin Hood, with typical jealousy on the part of Caan's Cole Younger. Timothy Dalton as Pinkerton seems James Bondish in his delivery and Harris Yulin pumps up the ham to play the dastardly railroad owner.
All in all, the film is as entertaining as it needs to be and even though Jesse and gang are almost beatified, they still have a little of that bad boy in them to make it believable, even though it's not!!!
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