I want to welcome CubicleMike to the mix over here at SandwichJohnFilms. The Cube will be doing reviews from time to time for the site. Here's his first review for the site and let me tell you there are SPOILERS! You have been Warned!
The title holds so much promise; “Cowboys and Aliens”. Who in their right mind, if you are male, didn’t play Cowboys and Indians when they were a kid or imagined stopping an invading hoard of aliens? Let me start by saying the main character (Jake Lonergan) in this film was supposed to be played by Robert Downey Jr.; but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, I guess we will never know what may have been.
The film starts out panning across what seems like the Arizona or New Mexico wilderness where our hero has been dumped or fell to exhaustion. Amnesiac Daniel Craig (Jake Lonergan) wakes up with no shoes, blood on his shirt with no food, water or even a horse. I think Daniel Craig’s best movie is Layer Cake, if you have not seen go out and rent it. But he does notice a metal bracelet on his arm that it very unusual and a picture of woman. Like any other oaky form spagokie he tries to get it off by hammering it with rock, surprise surprise it doesn’t work and he notices three fine upstanding gentlemen approaching on horse back with scalps of Native Americans on their saddles. Of course they assume they can make a few bucks off of Jake, but they seem to forget Bond is just as deadly without a gun as with. Of course Daniel Craig disarms them and kills them, now he has decent clothes, shoes, a horse, a gun and even a dog that has changed allegiances.
He mozzies to the nearest town where he breaks into a church without permission and I thought God’s house was always open to everybody. There he meets the preacher played by Clancy Brown, we all remember him from the movie Highlander where he played Kurgan . I still remember his famous line; “It’s better to burn out then to fade away”. The next scene introduces the spoiled rich kid Percy Dolahyde played by Paul Dano, who you may remember as the preacher from There Will Be Blood that was bludgeoned to death by Daniel-Day Lewis. In his drunken overindulged stupor he shoots a deputy and insults Lonergan who amply knees him in the nards. Well apparently Daniel Craig has one of those faces that is recognizable from a mile away because the Sheriff notices that amnesiac hero is actually an outlaw with a $1,000 bounty. Lonergan does the only thing for relaxation a cowboy can do in those days, come on people get your mind out of the gutter, and he goes to the local saloon and drinks.
The saloon is owned by the tender-foot doctor played by Sam Rockwell. There Lonergan meets the damsel of the film played by Olivia Wilde and I can’t get over the fact that she has perfect teeth, unbelievable skin and waxed eyebrows; I guess they had great dentist, dermatologist and small Asian ladies with their own hair saloons in the Wild West. Of course in proper heroic fashion Lonergan confronts the law and easily disarms the four men there to take him in, but to his surprise Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) gets the drop on him and renders him unconscious. Jake winds up in the same jail as Percy who wakes our hero by spitting on him. By this time Percy’s father the crotchety Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) hears about his son’s incarceration and well as just old men get irregular without their prune juice, I got that same sense from the Colonel and to make things worse Lonergan robbed the Colonel. I would hate to be that outhouse when the Colonel finally has to go. Lonergan and Percy are chained together on a coach and here comes the Colonel demanding the release of his boy and he wants to take custody of Jake.
Well all best plans are gone to waste when bright lights come down from the heavens and its not fireworks. The aliens attack the town scattering everybody in pandemonium until Jake realizes the bracelet on his arm is a weapon and he shoots down one of those fandangle contraptions. Many of the town’s people are abducted, including Percy, the doc’s wife, the sheriff and many others. Get the lynching rope out and get together the good ode boys because time to form a posse and get the good folks of the god fearing town back. And if you haven’t figured out by now from his name, Lonergan, Jake wants know part of it. He sets off on his way followed by the mysterious and beautiful Ella (Olivia Wilde); he bushwhacks her and wants to know why she is following him. Ella explains that her people were also taken and he is the only one that can help find them and the others. Jake refuses as usual and rides off until he happens onto a broken farm house where he gets back some of his memory of the lady in the picture he has. He joins the posse lead by the hemorrhoid ridden Colonel.
While on this expedition the posse runs across Jake’s old gang, whom promptly try to get rid of their old leader since he left loot from their last job to live a peaceful life with the woman in the picture, who turns out to be a whore. Well in extraordinary fashion Jake and the posse escape only to be chased by the outlaw gang and then the alien force. During this skirmish Ella is taken and Jake has to rescue her from the flying machine that looks like a large metallic dragonfly. Well, Ella is fatally wounded and as Jake makes his way back to the posse all them are taken by the Comanche. Jake exhausted watches the natives burn Ella’s body only to have her resurrected like Lazarus and come back to life. She’s not human; she is an alien but not the kind that are abducting the humans. Ella explains that her people were also victims of the alien hoard and now she is here to help the humans get their people back and destroy the bad aliens who evidently are after the same thing any red blooded American was at that time, gold! Now joined by the Indians the posse surrounds the alien base but realize they aren’t enough of them to win. Jake in his loner mode rides off leaving the posse to think he has abandoned them; little do they know he went back to recruit his outlaw gang. I know completely out of left-field!!
Now with the scourge of the west on their side, Jake, the posse, the Comanches are ready to handle the aliens. Jake takes Ella through the same passage he escaped through back into the alien ship while the others are left outside to deal with aliens. Now the aliens look like mole people with sharper teeth and Kuato hands that come out from the alien’s abdomen. In usual double Oh-seven fashion Daniel Craig kicks ass and rescues the town’s people, but Ella has a plan to destroy the whole alien ship but she needs Jake’s new weapon. Just like a freshman who will do anything to see his first naked female breast; Jake relinquishes his weapon and left with his six-shooter to shoot his way out. Stupid move, because he runs into the alien that disintegrated the woman in the picture and while escaping Jake had left a scar on the alien’s face. Jake is thrown around like a rag-doll, but at that time the Colonel notices Jake is not with the town’s people escaping from the alien ship and in Hollywood grand fashion goes in after him. The Colonel is just in time to shoot the alien, but with their tough and rough skin the alien doesn’t die form his shot and by then Jake grabs his riffle and blows the alien’s brains out. By now Ella reaches the energy core of the alien’s ship and detonates the weapon and the whole place is coming down around Jake and the Colonel. The two rush out and barely make it out as the ship is ‘blowd’ up real good.
I give this movie a crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwich with not enough peanut butter, too sweet and needing a little roughness and saltiness. Overall it was a good film to escape form reality and get away. I leave you with this, remember as Neo discovered ‘there is no spoon’, but there is box the defined by four lightly padded walls. Once leaving you wanting more.
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