Cowboys & Indians stars Daniel Craig as Jake Lonergan, a man with amnesia trying to remember his past. Harrison Ford is a cattleman with a reckless son, Sam Rockwell is a bar owner with a wife, and Olivia Wilde plays a mysterious woman. The cast also involves gangs of bandits, a religious man, Indian Tribes and more. You start to wonder if you are ever going to see any aliens. The movie is very concerned with developing a lot of characters and storylines that have nothing to do with aliens.
The premise of the movie is simple : What if aliens had arrived not in the present day but instead back in the old west? The first half of this film has a lot to do with the old west and very little to do with aliens. The aliens pick up in the second half and then the final third of the film is loaded with aliens. But we never seem to learn much about them. Overall this movie gives a lot more thought into the Western Characters and storyline than the aliens.
I can appreciate the effort to not shortchange the western side of the story, but there are countless subplots introduced with many of them having either cliched or unsatisfying resolutions. Also, I thought that the reaction that the people of the old west have to the aliens seems pretty subdued considering that it would seem that events like that would be even more shocking back then. They are extraordinarily casual about such a big deal. On top of that, they don’t seem to be all that curious as they don’t talk much about what is going on or try to figure out anything about the aliens. When they do receive information about the aliens later in the film, it just luckily falls into their lap. On top of not being very curious, they are also not very animated or emotional about what they should do about the menace that they are facing. And the movie has small amounts of humor here and there, but not nearly enough. It could have been a lot funnier and more exciting.
The movie does have mostly solid acting and a couple plot twists and does a decent job of entertaining the audience. It just has a lack of intensity. This film tries to hard to throw in everything but the kitchen sink and then doesn’t try hard enough to make the most of each of the elements that it has piled in.
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