DEAD MAN’S HAND
(director/writer: Brian Skiba; screenwriter: Corin Nemec/based on a graphic novel by Kevin and Matthew Minor; cinematographer: Adam Biddle; editor: Brian Skiba; cast: Stephen Dorff (Mayor Clarence Bishop), Jack Kilmer (Reno), Mo Brings Plenty (Mahto), Cole Hauser (U.S. Marshal), Camille Collard (Vegas), Tait Fletcher (Goliath), Costas Mandylor (Lucas), Forrest Wilder (Ed), Vincent E. McDonald (Abraham); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Brian Skiba/Randall Batinkoff/Jim Burleson/Louise Linton/Laurie Love; Lionsgate; 2023)
“I’ve seen worse Westerns.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Directed by the maven of bad B-films, Brian Skiba (“The 2nd”/”Pursuit”), and co-written by Skiba and Corin Nemec. It’s based on a graphic novel by Kevin and Matthew Minor. It pans out as a lukewarm revenge story, and fails to be more than an underwhelming B-Western, with a lousy story, poor acting, one-note characters and an insufficient budget to make it visually pleasing.
Reno (Jack Kilmer, son of Val) is a gunslinger. He’s heading West by stagecoach with his bride Vegas (Camille Collard), hoping for a quiet life in Nevada as a saloon owner. In self defense he kills the outlaw, Ed (Forrest Wilder), the leader of a gang of stagecoach robbers. At the next stop, Reno’s confronted by the town’s corrupt mayor, Colonel Bishop (Stephen Dorff), in the Confederate army, whose brother was the one Reno killed. The mayor wants revenge, and goes after Reno. Confronting him at a poker game in the bar, where two pair of black aces and black eights are drawn (the deadman’s hand) and afterwards a shootout between the Mayor’s boys and Reno results in the gunslinger losing his trigger fingers and his wife held hostage by the mayor.
But the Apache Mahto (Mo Brings Plenty) comes to Reno’s aid and uses Indian magic to restore Reno’s ability to use a gun.
Everything about that mystical event is awkward, unbelievable and boring.
The third act is reserved for mucho bloodshed between the warring parties, as they settle their differences.
I’ve seen worse Westerns.
REVIEWED ON 7/13/2023 GRADE: C