In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a big fan of westerns, which is why I was so excited about the movie 3:10 to Yuma. My wife and I finally got to the theatre last night to see it, and I was not disappointed. I’m not going to post spoilers, so don’t worry about that.
The first thing that really got my attention about the film was the music. The opening, and the first scenes with Russell Crowe as Ben Wade had music that was very reminiscent of the Ennio Morricone soundtracks to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti films. Needless to say, that made me very happy.
Throughout the film, you’re treated to the development of the three main characters: Crowe as Ben Wade, the ruthless outlaw, Christian Bale as the down but not quite out rancher Dan Evans, and Logan Lerman as Dan’s son, William. What really brought this movie home for me was the on-screen relationship between Dan and William, which was the cornerstone of the movie.
The chief “badguy” in the film is not Russell Crowe, as his character alternately helps and hinders Dan’s mission. No, really the primary villain is Ben Wade’s lieutenant, Charlie Prince who was played as a completely amoral psychotic by Ben Foster. The only things I’d seen Foster in before this were X3, The Punisher, and Six Feet Under, so to see him play a hardened killer was a surprise. Even more surprising was that he pulled the “hardened killer bit” off so very well.
Now, the part that my regulars have been waiting for: the guns. Oh, the guns were magnificent. When he is armed, Crowe’s character is carrying a pretty standard Colt SAA, however the grips are all black with a gold crucifix inlayed into each side. Crowe’s chief lieutenant carries a pair of Smith & Wesson Schofield revolvers in a double crossdraw rig. Meanwhile, Bale’s character, as a veteran of the Civil War is carrying a Spencer Carbine and an 1860 Army cartridge conversion.
The gunhandling is spectacular, the pacing of the film is relentless – all in all this is an excellent. It easily makes my list of Best Westerns made since 1980, and if I think about probably cracks the top ten of my all time favorite westerns.
Whether or not it was as good as the original is a matter of taste – I actually preferred Crowe and Bale as the leading men in this film. Either way, if you get a chance, get out there and see this film. If you like westerns, if you like a great plot and well crafted characters, you won’t be disappointed.