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(Review originally written at 31 July 2006)

This is a simple straight-forward action western that is an enjoyable one to watch.

This is not the kind of movie that really has a main plot line or purpose for all that matter. It's a movie that's filled with events, that just happen as they come. It makes the movie a very straight-forward and realistic one, with a typical gritty '70's touch. It also doesn't make the movie predictable in any way. Really not bad for such a formulaic genre, which western is.

Basically the whole movie is about the becoming of a man. The young Ben Mockridge joins the Culpepper cattle company with as intension of becoming a real cowboy. He slowly transits from an inexperienced boy to a man as the story progresses, by drinking, sex and killing. It's interesting to see a western that is told from the point of view of a young boy who does his very best to become a good and touch cowboy and to gain respect from the other older and more experienced cowboy's he rides with.

But really, if you're a bit familiar in the genre there is no way you can regard this movie as a masterpiece. Let's face it, this movie is a rather simple one that does entertaining but never really impresses. The story is also to inconsistent to call this movie a very interesting one to watch. But no, none of this really matters much, since the movie does serve its purpose well. The fact that the movie is straight forward make this movie a pleasant one to watch and it has some nice action as well.

The movie does have some pretty interesting characters in it. Some of the cowboys are some great tough guys who all have their unique great personality. It's sort of too bad that the title character isn't a great one. Frank Culpepper is a pretty weird looking character who is too unpredictable to really like him. The actors are really the best either but all fit their role well. It was quite nice to see a very young Charles Martin Smith in his very first movie role as well.

It's pretty weird and quite surprising that Jerry Bruckheimer was a producer of this movie. It was his first movie and his special touch was still missing here but its still sort of cool to see his name attached to this. The same goes for composer Jerry Goldsmith. I never know he scored western's as well by the way. Not that his score for this movie is much special though. He composed it together with composer Tom Scott, who now only mainly score TV-projects.

The movie its style is typically '70's like, which not only means that its gritty and realistic but its also a technical experimental one. Especially the cinematography is experimental. It has some odd camera-movements that at times also work quite surprising well and effective.

By no means an essential viewing but when you decide to watch it you won't regret it nevertheless. It's a pretty cool simple straightforward western, with some good bold action, which certainly entertains.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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