(director: Steve Miner; screenwriters: novel by Georg Durham/John Milius/Martin Copeland/Scott Busby; cinematographer: Daryn Okada; editors: Peter Devaney Flanagan/Gregg Featherman ; music: Trevor Rabin; cast: Dylan McDermott(Leander McNelly), Alfred Molina(John King Fisher), James Van Der Beek (Lincoln Rogers Dunnison), Usher Raymond(Randolph Douglas Scipio), Ashton Kutcher (George Durham), Randy Travis (Frank Bones), Robert Patrick (Sgt. Armstrong), Rachael Leigh Cook(Caroline Dukes), (Leonor Varela (Perdita), Tom Skerritt (Richard Dukes), Vincent Spano(Ed Simms); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Alan Greisman/Frank Price; Miramax/Dimension Films; 2001)

Uninspired dreck.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Uninspired dreck. It’s based on the true story of the Texas Rangers, adapted from a book by George Durham and a muddled script by John Milius, Martin Copeland and Scott Busby. Steve Miner (“Lake Placid”/”Day of the Dead”) was not a good replacement for the legendary director Sam Peckinpah, who died in 1984 before he could start filming. No one should mistake this over-the-top violent Western for The Wild Bunch. The forgettable postmodern Western wastes a well-known cast with this absurd tale that veers far from the truth, is filled with trite dialogue, too many cliches, and preaches as if a morality tale for the lawmen heroes even if they misuse their powers to hang a few outlaws on the trail rather than bringing them to justice. The Texas Rangers disbanded to fight on the side of the Confederates during the Civil War. When the war ended, Texas was a lawless place. In 1875 a former preacher and member of the Texas Rangers, Leander McNelly (Dylan McDermott), was asked by the governor of the territory to reunite the Texas Rangers and bring law and order to the territory. The Preacher, still mourning the death of his wife and family to bandits while he was gone, recruits a rag-tag military group that includes James Ven Der Beek and Ashton Kutcher and pursues the ruthless gang of killers, kidnappers and cattle thieves led by a snarling King Fisher (Alfred Molina). It mercifully ends with the outlaws slain in Mexico and the honor of the Texas Rangers as men of justice laughably promoted for saving their homeland. The vengeance seeking lawmen, in this awful Western, you might think live by the moral code that ‘might makes right.’

REVIEWED ON 6/29/2018 GRADE: C  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/