Yep, here we have a movie, deemed by many to be bad (4.5/10 on IMDB and scoreless on Rotten Tomatoes). But, I find it good. No great or excellent, but good. It is one of those movies I find myself watching at least once…let me go check (yes, I’m the nerd who keeps a DVD database including watch frequency)…well, every couple of years. And I even own in on DVD. All too often we expect the caliber of the big epic Hollywood movies and forget the “smaller” ones, those with less attention, often deemed as B-movies. The Gundown (2011) is one worth mentioning.
I came across it a few years back after having watched another poorly rated The Mountie (aka Lawman) (now, that’s a Western I only watched once and still am not sure if I enjoyed it or not), but it introduced me to actor Andrew W. Walker whom I thought did a really decent job of being a cowboy. As it goes with my desperate attempts to find unseen Westerns, I looked him up and voila, came across this one. Here he is quiet Cole Brandt, seeking revenge for the murder of his wife and child. Bringing in two wanted men to the town of Dead River, he inadvertently has more on his hands than he bargained for. Travis McCain (William Shockley) the local thug and brothel/hotel owner has found that forcing the townsfolk to pay him for protection (from his own outlaw gang) is easy work. Of course, he doesn’t count on Cole taking a deputy sheriff position or a liking to Cassey (one of the working ladies).
And so you have a very watchable Western with gun-fights, wagon chases and some romance thrown in. While much of it is predictable (come on, so many movies are anyway) and the acting and dialogue sometimes rigid, it really is a decent bit of escapism. I always enjoy Andrew W. Walker (I admit to watching quite a few of his made for TV romance movies) and together with the supporting cast of Peter Coyote (you’ll recognise him from A Walk to Remember), Sheree J. Wilson* (who does a fine job of taking over the saloon here), Allison Gordon, Paul McCarthy-Boyington amongst others, they manage to hold this one together.
Yes, it isn’t The Magnificent Seven, Once Upon a Time in the West, 3:10 to Yuma or put any another big-budget Western here. But who cares? Sometimes the most unexpected and underrated movie, with no prior expectations becomes perfect.
That’s why Taking Up Room‘s annual So Bad It’s Good Blogathon is welcome because for me, we can unashamedly write about movies that are deemed bad even though we think they are good (well, that’s one way of interpreting the Blogathon and I’ll stick with it). Although, movies we enjoy, no matter what the rating should always be allowed to shine, if only for oneself. Thanks Rebecca for your wonderful Blogathon – it always is fun writing about (and reading others) those “dud” movies. You can find more entries (here)
*Oooh, RealWeegieMidget Reviews, she’s been in 127 episodes of Dallas!?