Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers (2001)
Dir. Steve Miner
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Ashton Kutcher, Usher Raymond, Dylan McDermott, Tom Skerritt, Robert Patrick

A ragtag group of youngsters band together after the American Civil War to form the Texas Rangers, a group charged with the dangerous, ruthless duty of cleaning up the West.

This movie feels like another attempt to do a Young Guns type of picture, where they cast a bunch of young handsome television actors (and pop star Usher) hoping for a hit. Unfortunately none of the actors in this film seem to be as talented or have the onscreen chemistry that the stars of the earlier film did. I know that James Van Der Beek is capable of doing good work as an actor. His performance in The Rules of Attraction and his recent comedy work is proof of that, but he's not good in this. But he comes off better than Ashton Kutcher. The two are supposed to be friends but they have zero chemistry on screen together and their scenes seem awkward. It kind of leads me to think that he probably didn't care while making it and he just half assed it, and he's incapable of doing any good work other than Kelso on That Seventies Show or as Jessie from Dude, Where's My Car (which was basically him doing Kelso). It's pretty bad that of the young stars of the movie, Usher (who isn't primarily an actor) is the standout (which isn't saying much, but he isn't bad. He seems to be trying). 

About the older actors, Dylan McDermott seems like he doesn't give a shit. It's like he's trying to be badass and cool but he's failing.Robert Patrick is in standing around and scowling mode, and Randy Travis is there with not much to do. Tom Skerritt is alright, but barely in the film. Alfred Molina is better than the movie deserves, playing the villain John King Fisher. He seems like the only one trying to have fun. He's the best part of this garbage movie.

Another problem is that it spends the first half of the film setting up some things and then never pays it off. The first half also drags and the back half speeds by. According to Wikipedia and the IMDB the runtime was originally 10 minutes longer, and I don't know if this extra footage would of helped the movie, but maybe it would of fleshed things out a bit? One sign of this is that Usher's character started out as a scout, and he was angry about it cause he claimed that all the black recruits were made scouts and that they were the first to die, and that since he was a good shot he should be in a different position. I see that and think "he's going to have an arc where he has to prove himself to the older ranger (played by Robert Patrick) that displayed some 1880s racism towards him. But the movie never brings it up again.

The movie's director Steve Miner had/has and interesting career. He made of the better Friday the 13th movies (2 and 3), the underrated horror film House, and eighties racial comedy Soul Man. Now he's more involved with television, and had directed episodes of Dawson's Creek (with Van Der Beek) and The Practice (with McDermott). So you would think that he would be able to get better performances out of them in this film. Probably the nicest thing about the movie is that it looks nice in some scenes, but it isn't worth watching just to see some nice Canadian scenery standing in for Texas.

This movie was shot in 1999, and sat on the shelf for 2 years before being edited and released in 2001. It should of stayed on the shelf. The only reason why I finished this film was so I could complain about it here. This movie is crap. Avoid it. Spend your time with something better. The best thing about it is that when looking up things about it I found this wonderful image from a snap chat where Ashton Kutcher bashed the film. 

"bad one, called Texas Rangers" - Ashton Kutcher

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