Director: Jon Favreau (2011)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell
Find it: IMDB
James Bond and Indiana Jones team up to fight aliens in the Wild West, directed by the bloke who made Iron Man. And yet Cowboys & Aliens struggles to be as fun as that sentence would have you imagine. Still, it's more successful than the unreadable comic book upon which it is based. Cowboys & Aliens is one of the few comic books I couldn't bring myself to finish reading. And I managed to read The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
What I did read doesn't much resemble the film I saw. Tough guy Jake Lonergan wakes up in the desert, barefoot and with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Attached to his wrist is a device that looks (and works, as it happens) like what the Predator wears in Predator. He finds his way to a nearby town where he is promptly arrested by Sheriff Keith Carradine and harassed by grumpy Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). Then aliens arrive and kidnap Keith Carradine and a handful of other settlers. Lonergan, Dolarhyde and the remaining villagers band together to rescue their missing relatives and send the dastardly alien invaders packing.
Rather than feeling like a proper film about cowboys fighting aliens, Cowboys & Aliens feels like product. It's like Transformers. It's easier to watch than Transformers, but there's that similar sense of cliche and perfunctory action. Perhaps if Olivia Wilde did something. Literally, she just stands around with a dumb expression on her face. Even when she's grabbed by an alien spaceship, she's very blasé about it. Perhaps if Daniel Craig could make up his mind whether he's doing an English accent or an American one. Perhaps if Harrison Ford pretended to give a shit. But at least it has Walton Goggins from off've Justified, Sam Rockwell and Clancy Brown in it. Between the cast, Cowboys & Aliens manages to muster up some of the fun it could have been.
Cowboys & Aliens is review proof. No matter what anyone says about it, it'll always have that title. There'll always be that doubt in the back of your mind: "it's a film called Cowboys & Aliens. It can't not be good." And it is good. Occasionally. But not like it should have been.