THE LONE RANGER (2013) : REVIEW

4.7.13

"There come a time, when good man must wear mask."
First thing to say, I haven't caught a glimpse of the original 1950's TV series so no more sayings on that. Second, I'm not a big fan of Old-Western kind of movies, but I made an exception just for this so-called POTC centersquad team with the help of Disney. I didn't expect much from this reboot, especially after seeing its free-fall rate on RottenTomatoes. But hey people, it's THE Johnny Depp.


The story centered on John Reid (Armie Hammer), a humble attorney in 1869 Texas whose biggest obsessions was John Locke's "Two Treatises of Government". He was on the train on his way to his hometown when he found out that the train was hijacked as an attempt to free a gruesome outlaw named Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). Butch did escape, but John found himself another arrestee, a Native American (or should I say a Comanche) named Tonto (Johnny Depp). Because of the stunt John pulled off, he then granted an official badge and status of Texas Ranger, alongside his lawman and notorious big brother Dan Reid (James Badge Dale). Then, John, Dan and the other rangers were going out on patrol only to accidentally position themselves as an ambush target, which later John found out was organised by Cavendish. All the rangers, including Dan, were dead, except John, who was found by Tonto and being chose as a "Spirit Warrior" by a "Spirit White Horse" of Indian tribe. Short story short, John found out that Tonto was also chasing Cavendish, comitting himself as a "Wendigo Chaser" and both of them then agreed to work with each other to get back at Cavendish.

A failed attempt from Gore Verbinski on his effort to bring back the iconic lonely ranger (who wasn't even lonely) back to life. Even with the mega budget : $250 Million (And thank God wasn't in 3D), TLR was like an imaginary production. It was visually ordinary with lots of common actions which realization were too much through endless locomotive stunts & gunplays. The 149 minutes movie was downright shallow mixed with complicated and disturbing plot holes. And slow-paced, action scenes asides. They way they make the whole backstories (the mask, the dead crow) revelation using a first-point storytelling was incredibly dull; the backstories rather jammed with the story's main intention which made it felt vague and unfocused. The those-who-have-trouble-staying-dead formula was too ordinary, it felt like I've watched this movie for my whole life; more to luck rather than skill. The story wasn't convincing enough; we couldn't emotionally engaged with it or even cared about the heroes. I appreciated the gags here (especially the memorable one-on-one scenes between Tonto & THE HORSE), but they weren't balanced with the solemn side of Cavendish's gangs. I also appreciated the twist, but the emersion of the 'another' villain was roughly executed; they should have added more red-line into it.

I still don't understand the intention of putting Helena Bonham Carter as the ivory-legged Red there. She could have been one of the scene-stealers but her appearances served no purpose. Another thing, did it really necessary to make a heart-eating scene of Cavendish? What did it serve anyway? A gruesome image? And would everybody stop asking "What's with the mask?" Like, "What is going on here??!"

There was an odd chemistry going on between Depp and Hammer. Hammer was stylish, dapper and god-knows-where-he-learned-that-stuffs. The image of a Lone Ranger doesn't fit his 6'4" tall and his neatly-cut suit, white hat and the bullet-shot holed leather mask. But he delivered quite an OK performance, still acceptable. As for Depp, being peculiar is one path he destined to take. Tonto with his dead crow hair accessories, the KISS-like face paint and those bug eyes matched with his silence yet intentionally goofy demeanor; impeccable. Hammer and Depp were mocking each other a lot and it was funny (Kemosabe as in "The Wrong Brother"). Tom Wilkinson's performance was out of the blue, or maybe his character (Cole) made him so? As for William Fichtner, I liked him in the first-half but he just evaporated after that, like WTH? He made quite a villain I can say.

Finally, The Lone Ranger is a typically strange Old-Western type movie with nothing to offer but Depp's goofiness and tons of railroad actions. It was a wild mess. I don't recommend you to watch it if you like neither Depp or Old-Western action movie. Rental!




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