Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jason versus The Lone Ranger

As a boy, I grew up listening to the old Lone Ranger radio series on tape because my dad grew up listening to the real deal on the radio. The Lone Ranger was my dad's favourite hero, so I ended up loving the character by default. How does this latest incarnation, as told by Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and Gore Verbinski hold up? Stick with me.

Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice. 

This movie isn't as bad as everyone made it out to be, but it is an overblown wannabe epic when it should have been a simple western tale of justice and revenge. The Lone Ranger isn't the kind of story you turn into a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. It's a straight-ahead tale of a masked man, his trusted sidekick Tonto and the evil Butch Cavendish.

All of those elements are here, and the movie does have a solid first hour and a decent last act, but the rest is a bloated mess of shifting tones, silly asides and needless characters. Plus there's an unnecessary wrap-around story that adds nothing to the film.

I liked Hammer as The Lone Ranger, although he doesn't get to cut loose as the hero until the final 30 minutes, and dug Depp as Tonto. And there's a great sequence involving The William Tell Overture -- The Lone Ranger's theme -- that would have made dad proud.

Too bad the rest of the movie isn't as good. As it is, it's a Bad, although I'd sit down and give it a watch if it happened to be on at someone's house.
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