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:: Cowboys & Aliens

With a name like Cowboys & Aliens it sounds like this film should be straight-to-DVD and possibly for sale for $2 in The Reject Shop in a few months time. But wait on a second, with the director of Iron Man at the helm and a killer cast, surely it can’t be all bad? Actually, Cowboys & Aliens isn’t at all bad and it’s good to see Hollywood for once taking a chance on a film with a fresh concept as it’s core.

Cowboy, Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of nowhere with his memory gone and a strange device strapped to his arm. Confused, he heads to the nearest town where he soon discovers that he is a wanted man for his part in the robbery of rancher, Woodrow Dolarhyde’s (Harrison Ford) riches. After a run-in with Woodrow’s son, Percy (Paul Dano) it seems like he will find himself behind bars, but when the town is attacked by ‘demons’ (aliens) Jake and Woodrow soon find themselves having to form a truce in a bid to rescue those kidnapped.

You can only wonder how many times the team of screenwriters behind Cowboys & Aliens were laughed out of producer’s offices with their idea, but believe it or not the mix of sci-fi and western genres works exceptionally well, thanks largely to a well-developed script and a story that actually has you fearing for the character’s safety. Add that to the fact that Jon Favreau has kept the film true to the original John Wayne style of Western and it’s easy to see that this is a film that you will remember for a long time to come.

One of the keys to bringing such interesting characters to life is that even the minor roles in the film have been cast in such they way that they have some of the most talented under-rated actors in the role. Walton Goggins and Paul Dano put in eye-catching efforts while Olivia Wilde takes her role and grips onto with both hands. Her performance here alongside her performance in TRON: Legacy shows that she is ready to take the next step. Harrison Ford also puts in a brilliant performance and silences all those who are saying he is too old for a role like this, while Daniel Craig is credible in his first big screen appearance for three years.

Many scoffed at the idea of Cowboys & Aliens and now they are ones coming out of screenings muttering “it kinda works”. There maybe some clichéd moments in Cowboys & Aliens but if you view it as simply a film there for pure entertainment it certainly does what it sets out to do. A great ride that rejuvenates the Western genre.