American Outlaws [Import]
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
......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.
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!!!
Right from the starting scene in a civil war battlefield and on to the end, the thrills never stop. It'll have you sitting on the edge of your chair or jumping up and down in excitement all the way through!
Farrell is an excellant Jesse (and very handsome too!), set off well by Scott Caan's equally brilliant Cole Younger. When Frank and Jesse James Return to Liberty, Missouri after the civil war, they find things greatly changed. The railroad is heading West and it needs their land. Jesse and Frank refuse to sell and create a spread of rebellion throughout their village. After seeing their Ma brutally murdered by the railroad men, the James brothers join forces with the Youngers and begin careers as outlaws in order to stop the railroad's advance.
The film does have a slightly romantic edge in the form of Zie, Jesse's beautiful fiancee (Ali Larter).
American Outlaws is equal to Pirates of the Caribbean for excitement, yet being shorter it doesn't even drag in the slightest. Infact, its only fault has to be that it lacks a Jack Sparrow, but with Bob Younger's wisecracks you scarcely notice it.
If, like me, you lost your heart to the West long ago you'd be a fool to miss this film. Even if you ain't lost your heart to nobody, you'd still be a fool.
So cowboys, saddle up; Let's Ride!!
Most recent customer reviews
disc appears to be well used and skips and does not play all the way through. disapointed in the overall qualityPublished on May 29 2013 by Rebecca Paton
Forget about history, this is strictly eye candy...Irish sweetheart Colin Farrell and the boys ride horses, shoot guns and trade quips. Read morePublished on March 14 2005
Can somebody believe those baby face actors, look like tough cowboys? I've always seen men playing cowboys in films, not smooth-faced teens. Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by Pablo Nadal Moron