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Cowboys and Aliens

If the title of this film makes you cringe already then the likelihood is that watching it won’t fair much better.

The Sci-fi Western has taken many shapes and forms from Mad Max to Back to the Future Part III to Wild, Wild West (Yes, we knew all the words to Will Smith’s theme song too). All of them left audiences wondering ‘why the hell…?’, ‘how on earth…?’, ‘where’s the gratuitous sex?’ etc etc.

Cowboys and Aliens is no different. In fact, there are so many integral questions that are just brushed over; it’s hard to know where to begin. For instance, we are told that the aliens want gold. Harrison Ford’s character, Dolarhyde, questions: “what are they gonna do…buy stuff with it!?”. Good question, Indy. Unfortunately, no one ever solves this riddle nor why there is a pressing need to brutally harvest human organs in the process. Putting that aside, the explosions are commendable, the lights of the spaceships are menacing and the set for the little town of Absolution is stunning. However, in the cruel daylight, the aliens and spaceships are far too kitsch. There are more than a few moments that are uncannily similar to Doctor Who: not in a good way.

Ford does the cantankerous town boss to a tee and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) is excellent as his wayward son Percy. Abigail Spencer (TV’s Mad Men) performs as the ethereal Alice with the perfect combination of mysterious damsel and gun-wielding beauty. Craig’s performance, however, will leave many feeling indifferent. It’s hard to escape the fact that he is merely 007 with a Southern states accent. He does manage to get his shirt off for extended periods though so we can forgive him this time.

Even though Cowboys and Aliens is visually entertaining, the plot twists are predictable and the real threat of attack is only felt in the murky darkness of the township. By the second hour, there is an unbearable urge to imagine that James Bond and Indiana Jones are teaming up to kick some intergalactic ass; anything to satiate the need for more thrills.

In cinemas from 17 August

Soundtrack also available

Review: Jamie Fisher

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