It's not very hard to see why this movie doesn't work out as well as the original did. It's totally lacking the raw, gritty and bleak atmosphere of the 1971 original, which is for most part due to the fact it changed settings. Instead of the cold and depressing English landscapes, this movie is set in rural, warm Mississippi. It just gives the movie a totally different style and atmosphere to it, making this look and feel as a far more average genre flick.

But that of course is not the only thing the movie is lacking with. The storytelling forms another problem for the movie. Instead of slowly and steadily building up to things, the movie just lets stuff happen. Because things just happen, it doesn't ever feel like the story is being like a slippery slope and its main character never reaches a clear breaking point.

All of this are reasons why this isn't exactly being the most powerful or involving movie to watch. But having said that, I also still need to be honest and conclude that this is far from a bad genre movie. Especially when you aren't familiar with the 1971 Sam Peckinpah movie by the same name, starring Dustin Hoffman, this is still being a pretty good and enjoyable little genre movie.

The story still has some interesting elements to it, though it doesn't exactly ever goes deep with anything. Clearly it's not as much a psychological movie as the original was but that's OK, since the movie does has some other qualities to it with its thriller ingredients. There is still some tension and also mystery to the story and it features some pretty good and interesting characters in it.

It's true perhaps that James Marsden wasn't the best choice for the main lead but again, this is mostly due to it that you keep comparing him to the same character Hoffman played in the 1971 version. The reason why the Hoffman character worked out so well within the context of the movie was because his character not only was a pushover, he also looked like one. When his wife called him a coward you believed she really meant it, while in this movie it only sounds like a tease. Mardsen might look a bit dorky while wearing glasses, he still obviously is in good shape and has a square jaw, making him look nothing like a wimp or pushover. It also makes the transition his character goes through work out as something less effective and just not all that interesting because very little changes within the character.

Luckily it's a movie filled with plenty of other characters, playing a big and important role for the movie. Alexander Skarsgård and James Woods spice things up a little bit more, playing 'villainoush' characters and still help to give the movie and its story some more depth and dimensions.

The movie as it is, is nothing too special but everything in it still works out well enough to consider this a good and watchable enough genre movie. Still terrible as a remake though, of the 1971 Peckinpah classic.


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About Frank Veenstra

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