Cons: Overlong, CGI replaces story
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
This is a remake of the Glenn Ford - Van Heflin western from 1957 with current actors Russell Crowe and Christian Bale taking the respective roles of the captured bad man and the sod buster who guards the prisoner and takes him to the train for $200 - big money back in the 1870s.
The original was directed by Delmer Daves and with its cast, both starring and supporting, it had it all over the 2007 version, there is just no comparison; however the 2007 version is watchable if a bit overlong and dependent on action sequences rather than the psychological drama of the two men just trying to psyche each other out which was the whole point of the 1957 movie. Thus we have an action fest compared with a psychological drama, hardly a re-make at all, more homage even though they are both based on the same Elmore Leonard story.
The modern take emphasizes the gang much more, especially Ben Wade's (Crowe) second in command the fruity Charlie Prince (Ben Foster). This guy is allowed to run amok a couple times and really does not add much to the film except for providing a homosexual type for somebody to root for. For support there is Peter Fonda as a grizzled Pinkerton detective who takes a couple of bullets from Charlie Prince execution-style yet maintains his good health and is able to do some fantastic stunts for a gravely wounded man.
The byplay between the two principals is not so well done, either and maybe that was why director James Mangold opted to put a lot more gunplay, explosions, and other action in. The Christian Bale character, Dan Evans, is also weighed down with more problems than a man ought to have with a prosthetic leg and a wife and kids that don't believe in him with a marginally whiny attitude for the first two thirds.
According to the story, the actors were supposed to be headed for the town of Contention where the train comes in at 3:10 but somewhere along the line they missed going through Credibility. As you watch the movie unwind there are many moments when you stop and ask yourself "why would he do that?" and there is no good answer you can come up with. The director was running out of ideas and just piled on the action without asking himself if the viewers would buy it. Well some did, but not everybody. The teenage boys who love explosions seem to think this movie is really the bomb, but those of us who crave a good tale are left wanting.
Still, it is perhaps not the most horrible movie ever made - even the 1957 original is not among the ten best westerns ever filmed - yet the 2007 3:10 to Yuma does not raise the bar for the story. Anybody would be well advised to seek out the 1957 version instead of the CGI enhanced 2007 version. The acting from the principals is certainly a lot more memorable than that done by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.
The video is from Lionsgate - there's a clue - a less than mainstream DVD producer. The 2 hour and 2 minute running time wears out its welcome at least 30 minutes early but the 2.35:1 color imagery is quite good even though there is enough killing to depopulate most of the territory. There are several behind the scenes "making-of" videos featuring the actors and crew and a full length commentary from director James Mangold as extra features. Mainly the extras are missable, slap themself on the back comments from the cast and crew. "Didya see me acting? Didya see me?" and similar rot.
The 1957 original 3:10 to Yuma