From the director, writers and producer of the Pirates of the Caribbean films they attempt to repeat their success with a reboot of The Lone Ranger. But the film was plagued with production problems, a bloated budget and poor critical response and it ended up being one of the biggest flops of 2013.
In 1869 in Texas the idealistic young lawyer John Reid (Arnie Hammer) returns to his home town of Colby to bring in the rule of law. But when a notorious criminal, Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) escapes whilst journeying to Colby John has to team up with his Texas Ranger brother Dan (James Badge Dale) and seek to find Butch and his gang. The rangers are betrayed and John has to team up with a strange, unhinged Native American, Tonto (Johnny Depp) who also wants revenge. Soon the pair discover a bigger conspiracy that could lead to war between the United States and the Comanche tribe.
The final 30 minutes was real fun romp, offering an excellent action sequence that was light-hearted and adventurous whilst the William Tell Overture was playing in the background. It was a romp and this was what the whole of the film should have been. But The Lone Ranger suffers from a number of problems: these range from the strange decision to frame the story as an elderly Tonto narrators it to a young boy in 1933, when the telling the story would have been stronger if it was told straight and the tonal shift being very comic with John and Tonto arguing and falling into slapstick whilst Fichtner is coming from another film where he is dark, menacing and literally a cannibal.
There was potential for a good romp but director Gore Verbinski does fall into the same traps of the Pirates films, as Tonto and John Reid are basically Jack Sparrow and Will Turner with their buddy routine, the long running time and the shifting tone. The idea of John Reid being a idealistic, intelligential man who wants to bring law and order and only uses a gun as a last resort, but Hammer plays the character too nerdy, suffering both from the slapstick comedy and he is stronger when the character was played more straight. Whilst there has been a lot of criticism of Depp playing a Native America, but the big issues are Depp is really playing another Jack Sparrow type character that has been his career lately, being comically wacky. It would have served the film better if Tonto was played more straight-laced and he definitely should have been played by a younger actor, someone in their early thirties. The shtick between John and Tonto just reminded me how much better it was done in the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films, not helped with Hans Zimmer providing a similar score for both franchises.
The Lone Ranger does have a excellent supporting cast, Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter and Barry Pepper. They are all at least solid and Fichtner does make an excellent villain but his gruesome actions should have been cut from the script: he still could have been interesting, cold-blooded villain who killed on a whim without needing to be made into the complete psychopath. Wilson is a good actress but she was given the thankless damsel in distress role and Bonham Carter was underused in her role as a brothel owner.
The screenplay itself is a mishmash of ideas, having surreal supernatural ideas whilst also wanting to be a more grounded swashbucking affair with political and business conspiracies. It should have gone one way or the other but the film tries to play it both ways and it ends up leading to some big plot holes/questions. Questions that they properly wanted to answer in the sequel that is not going to happen. As you would expect from a Gore Verbinski/Jerry Brockheimer production the action and special effects is of a high standard and the third act is what you would want from a Lone Ranger film. But this film should have been a light-hearted swashbucking film and not this product that wanted to be a comedy and a dark grim film.
The Lone Ranger
Action / Adventure / Western
The Lone Ranger
Action / Adventure / Western
In the 1930s, an elderly Tonto tells a young boy the tale of John Reid, the Lone Ranger. An idealistic lawyer, he rides with his brother and fellow Texas Rangers in pursuit of the notorious Butch Cavendish. Ambushed by the outlaw and left for dead, John Reid is rescued by the renegade Comanche, Tonto, at the insistence of a mysterious white horse and offers to help him to bring Cavendish to justice. Becoming a reluctant masked rider with a seemingly incomprehensible partner, Reid pursues the criminal against all obstacles. However, John and Tonto learn that Cavendish is only part of a far greater injustice and the pair must fight it in an adventure that would make them a legend.
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October 04, 2013 at 02:17 AM