“APPALOOSA” (Ed Harris, Viggo Mortenson, Renee Zellweger & Jeremy Irons)
“Appaloosa” is no “3:10 To Yuma”; in fact “Appaloosa” borrows the main plot of “3:10” & doesn’t do it nearly as well.
What Appaloosa adds to the mix is a female presence... a very unwelcome female presence in the form of Renee Zellweger (as Allie)
She arrives in town for no apparent reason & immediately starts to flirt with the newly appointed town Marshall, Virgil Cole (Ed Harris)
I guess being old enough to be her father makes Allie look a lot purdier than she really is, but am I the only male in the world that doesn’t think Renee Zellweger is all that attractive?
It seems like every other movie she’s in 2 decent looking guys are fighting over her like she’s the second coming of Marilyn Monroe! To me, she looks like Yeardley Smith’s slightly better looking sister (Yeardley is known as being the voice of Lisa Simpson)
Anyway, back to the plot - Virgil is smitten by Allie’s ‘school marm’ demeanor & escalated by her whorish behavior in bed. They decide to build a house on the edge of
The best part of ‘Appaloosa’ though is Viggo Mortenson’s portrayal of Virgil’s deputy & long-time friend Everett. The ease into which both Mortenson & Harris blend into their characters & react to one another is quite impressive & fun to watch. They didn’t absolutely blow me away like Crowe & Bale did in ‘3:10’, but they are the only reason I
would recommend anyone to spend money to catch this flick.
There are script problems & just something about Zellweger that just didn’t click with this film...
Virgil & Everett are ‘hired guns’ but perform the occupation legally by becoming lawmen. They are summoned to the town of Appaloosa in New Mexico when the Sheriff & his 2 deputies disappear after heading out to the Bragg spread to arrest two of his hired hands for murdering a young couple. When Bragg (Jeremy Irons) first appears he has a distracting English tint to his accent which disappears rather abruptly – other than that Irons is his usual top quality bad guy...
Virgil immediately adopts a fight fire with fire attitude & ‘legally’ guns down 3 of Bragg’s men for resisting arrest (Well, Virgil kills 2 of them, Everett nails the third)
This isn’t as heavy-handed as it sounds, there are several comedic moments usually uttered by the ‘I don’t give a crap what YOU think’ Virgil & also from Virgil’s inability to come up with the ‘right’ word to say – the less talkative Everett always spits it out for him.
The problems with the script derive from contradictions by Virgil – He allows Bragg to escape & then later says, “You can’t be a lawman & let somebody take your prisoner.”
He claims that he ‘Takes the legal side seriously’ followed by “What the hell am I if I don’t?” – This line comes after Virgil has beaten an innocent man unconscious...
There could have/ should have been a nice little twist in the plot to explain why Allie suddenly shows up in the middle of nowhere unescorted - they come up with a plausible reason for this & then dismiss it. Apparently she’s a more interesting character if she’s ‘just a whore’; an unfaithful, untalented, unattractive lying little whore... & yet somehow I didn’t like the addition of this character – She should have been a welcome sight, but nope, just doesn’t work here – she’s just annoying & there is no reason whatsoever for Virgil to stay with her.
“Support Your Local Sheriff” did the comedy better & “3:10 To Yuma” did the drama better (& was simply a much better movie from start to finish) but yet ‘Appaloosa’ is still an easy film to ride along with simply due to the characterizations supplied by Ed & Viggo.