When the “Lone Ranger” trailers came out earlier this year, I eagerly awaited the release; but when the length of the movie was revealed (two and a half hours), and the scathing reviews came out, I decided that this was going straight to my DVD list. “The Lone Ranger” was released on December 24th, so I went to Redbox; rented the Blu-Ray version; and threw in the microwave popcorn. Although I am glad that I did not spend good money to see this movie on the big screen, I have seen much worse.
John Reid (Arnie Hammer of Social Network) has graduated from law school somewhere on the East Coast and comes to visit his brother, Dan (James Badge Dale), in Texas during the 1850’s. Dan, who is a lawman, has a wife Rebecca (Ruth Wilson), and a young boy that you just know are going to be used as collateral somewhere down the line. When the dufus-doting John hooks up with his brother, Dan is pursuing a cannibalistic bandit by the name of Butch Cavandish (William Fichtner). Butch is eventually apprehended by Dan and is locked in a railroad car with a strange Indian named Tonto (Johnny Depp). Tonto, who sports a crow on top of his head, is able to get loose, and both Cavendish and the face-painted warrior escape.
Cavendish has a bone to pick, so he and his gang ambush the rangers. Dan, John, and the posse are shot while doing the search and everyone is killed with the exception of John, who has been maimed and thought to be dead, but is alive. Tonto discovers John’s body while surveying the massacre and is nursed back to health by the face-painted Comanche. When John, who is sweet on Rebecca, finds out that she and the boy have been taken, he decides to hunt down Cavendish with the help of Tonto.
The plot is muddled, but I didn’t expect rocket science here. There is some kind of sideline about a crooked railroad owner (Tom Wilkinson) and a Calvary unit headed by a naive captain (Barry Pepper), who are both at odds with the Comanche tribe. (Don’t think too hard about the plot, because it will give you a headache.) There is plenty of violence, so I would suggest not letting the young ones watch this film. The redeeming factors are the use of humor and the Wild West scenario, which is both expansive and picturesque. If you’re looking to blow two and half hours over the holiday without taxing your mind, I would recommend the Lone Ranger. If you’re not into silliness, I would blow it off. (Directed by Gore Verbinski; Rated PG.)
Reviewers Notes: The Lone Ranger is thought to be inspired by real life Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes, who was featured in the book “The Lone Star Ranger” by Zane Grey in 1915.
The Lone Ranger first appeared on a Detroit radio station (WXYZ) in 1933 and soon became a hit. After a series of books written by Fran Striker, The Lone Ranger hit television and ran from 1949 to 1957 and proved to equally, if not more popular, than the radio series. Clayton Moore played the Lone Ranger and John Todd played Tonto.
My Rating: 3 of 5 Silver Bullets.