Opening in theatres for the holiday weekend from director Gore Verbinski and Walt Disney Pictures comes a story from yesteryear with THE LONE RANGER.
This film tells the story of John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man who has studied the law returning home to uphold the law. On the train he meets Tonto (Johnny Depp), a Commanche Indian who is looking for Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) an outlaw who wronged his people.
In town John comes face to face with Rebecca (Ruth Wilson), with whom he shared a past with. She is now married John’s brother Dan (James Dale) and they have a son Will (Mason Cook). Dan is also the sheriff of the town who has made promises to the natives outside of town.
A local town businessman Mr. Cole (Tom Wilkinson) is eager to keep the railroad moving west and convinces Calvary Captain Fuller (Barry Pepper) that the Indians have gone rogue. When Dan and John go looking for the outlaws, they are ambushed and everyone is left for dead.
But Tonto discovers John is still alive and after many encounters with spirits they work together to find out who is causing all the trouble – the Indians or someone else who has an ulterior motive!
FINAL WORD: Hammer is a good actor who has yet to find his niche – this wasn’t it. It just hurt every time he had to be saved or did something goofy or accidental because that’s not the Lone Ranger I grew up with. Fine if a director wants to change things around but don’t expect everyone to be wow’d by it.
Depp was disturbing as Tonto. I don’t know if it was the make-up, the broken way he spoke (meaning one minute he sounded perfectly Johnny Depp and the next moment he sounded like a drunken Jack Sparrow) or the same facial expressions we’ve come to expect from his characters. Tonto was a hero of mine – Jay Silverheels’ Tonto (circa 1949-1957).
Wilkinson plays the bad guy with ease but there isn’t much to be bad about. I’ve seen him “act” this way before so there isn’t truly anything memorable here. Pepper played the stereotypical Calvary soldier bent on using heavy artillery against bows and arrows.
There were a few funny moments; I just can’t tell you know what they were!
Other cast include: Helena Bonham Carter as Red Harrington, Barry Pepper as Captain Jay Fuller, W. Earl Brown as Stache, Harry Treadaway as Frank, Timothy V. Murphy as Fritz and James Badge Dale as Dan Reid.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE LONE RANGER two and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. I thought the storyline inadequate, the use of the original Lone Ranger music grasping at straws, Depp’s portrayal of Tonto offensive and the use of the gattling gun unnecessary. It was an assault on the senses at best. The gimmicks didn’t work at all and only managed to irritate me.
Hammer’s performance was a caricature of an icon and I have no idea why Depp wanted to play an Indian Barnabas Collins Jack Sparrow! I did like the horse though! So feel free to see the movie at will as its clearly geared for an audience who doesn’t remember who the Lone Ranger is. I bet it won’t beat the zombies – mark me on that!
In the end – never take off the mask!
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