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Westward hokum

movie-reviews Updated: Jul 30, 2011 11:37 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
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Cowboys And Aliens
Direction: Jon Favreau
Actors: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford
Rating: **1/2

It’s a clever concept all right. Lucklessly, the mishmash of shoot-’em-up westerns and effects-laden sci-fi adventures has no new insights to offer about either of the well-worn genres.

Rather, it shamelessly regurgitates plot elements from countless cowboy and extra-terrestrial flicks. The entirely-by-numbers screenplay, attributed to as many as five writers, is derived from a 2006 graphic novel of the same name.

A craggy gunslinger (Craig taking over the role originally slated for Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an arid 1870s frontier town. The drifter has absolutely no idea of his past.

Not to worry, for he finds out soon enough. It turns out that the mysterious metallic bracelet fused to his left wrist holds the key to destroying a horde of alien invaders. Yeehaw.

Rambling along from one pointless predicament to another the loner hero allies with a cantankerous cattle baron (Ford, gamely parodying his Indiana Jones persona) armed mercenaries, not to mention a posse of Native Americans.

To his credit, director Favreau (both Iron Man movies) choreographs competent guns and fisticuff skirmishes. In addition, Matthew Libatique’s camera work is striking. On the other hand, the hyperspace marauders are more repellant than menacing.

At best, Cowboys and Aliens makes for an okey-dokey matinee.