(director/writer: Mario Van Peebles; cinematographer: Kurt E. Soderling; editor: Andrew Shearer; music: Dontae Winslow; cast: Mario Van Peebles (Chief), Whoopie Goldberg (Stagecoach Mary), Neal McDonough (Bart),  William Mopother (Angel), Edward James Olmos (Ossie), Cam Gigandet (Caprice), John Carroll Lynch (Carson), DC Young Fly (Spooky), Mandela Van Peebles (Decker), Amber Reign Smith (Queenie), Cedric the Entertainer (Horatio), M. Emmett Walsh (Catfish), Madison Calley (Malindy), Jake Manley (Southpaw), Allen Payne (Jeremiah); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Kip Konwiser, Joshua Russell; Quiver Distribution; 2024)

“Disappointing but entertaining revenge frontier Western that turns one off with its heavy-handed melodramatics.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Mario Van Peebles (“New Jack City”/”Posse”) is writer and director of this disappointing but entertaining revenge frontier Western that turns one off with its heavy-handed melodramatics and that it lacks logic. Its story tunes into such things as racism in the post-Civil War period of 1908, as it attempts to tell the true story of forgotten true-life figures from the Old West (the Stagecoach Mary character Whoopie Goldberg portrays is a true Western legendary character).

The visuals by the DP,
Kurt E. Soderling, are solid, as is the fine ensemble cast and the celebrity cameos from Whoopie Goldberg, Cedric the Entertainer, Edward James Olmos and M. Emmet Walsh.

The bad-ass, known as the Chief (Mario Van Peebles), is an exiled gunslinger hiding for years in Mexico, who has hidden in underground mines in the Montana hills the shipment of Confederate gold he stole at the end of the Civil War and returns to retrieve it. The Chief reunites with his old gang, known as the
“posse,” that includes Carson (John Carroll Lynch), the only white partner; Spooky (DC Young Fly), a sassy cabaret performer; Southpaw (Jake Manley), a quick draw; and Queenie (Amber Reign Smith), an old flame regaled as a lethal knife-thrower.
But to get the gold the Chief must fight his former rival, the sociopath Angel (
William Mopother) and his tough gang of marauders, who want the gold for themselves. Angel has a brass hand replacement as a result of losing it in a gun duel with the Chief, and would like nothing better than to get another crack at him.

Angel’s scheme to find the hidden gold has him force Chief’s estranged adult son, Decker (Mandela Van Peebles, Mario’s real-life son), to infiltrate his dad’s gang. To make sure Decker complies, Angel takes hostage Malindy (Madison Calley), the young man’s classically trained violinist wife.

When the gangs collide, the well-staged action sequences give the story enough dead bodies
for the B-western to call it a day when all the shooting finally ends. It might even remind you of those films back in the days of Hollywood’s Golden Age of Hollywood, but for this film having a mostly Black cast.
Whoopi Goldberg Outlaw Posse