‘The Lone Ranger’ arrives guns-a-blazin in theaters
New to theaters today is the latest action opus from the team behind the first 3 “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, director Gore Verbinski and his star Johnny Depp, and the animated “Rango”, “The Lone Ranger”. The iconic figure and his partner Tonto started off as the stars of their own radio show in the 1930’s which morphed to film serials and a TV show by the late 40’s. Now after decades away from any screen, Disney has opted to bring back the pair for a blockbuster summer tentpole release complete with dazzling action set pieces and a star studded cast.
The Lone Ranger
Starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichter, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, James Badge Dale, Barry Pepper and Helena Bonham Carter
Written by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio
Directed by Gore Verbinski
The Lone Ranger is bookend by a story in the 1930’s with a much older Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Depp) recounting the untold tale of the adventure that transformed John Reid (Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice. In the late 1800’s , after his brother (Badge Dale) meets his untimely end at the hands of Butch Cavendish (Ficther), the presumed dead John Reid is nursed back to health by Tonto. Donning a mask to hide his identity, the duo set out upon a path of vengeance that ends up leading them to somewhere unexpected.
The Lone Ranger is a fun, goofy popcorn flick that delivers the goods for action and laughs. The chemistry between the 2 leads is very good and Hammer is strong as the man behind the mask. Those expecting that Depp will overwhelm the picture with another wacky character will likely not enjoy the bookend story that much as Depp’s Tonto comes to life in a travelling wild west museum to tell the tale of the Lone Ranger origins to a young kid who looks eerily like Charlie Korsmo from Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy”. But once the real action of the story begins the picture becomes very much the Lone Ranger’s story as Tonto falls more into a supporting role.
The train jail break of Butch Cavendish (Fichter looking awesome, like a Pirates extra with the cut lip) that opens the film sets the tone and pace right away as it is a ridiculous, over the top set piece that manages to introduce every major character along the way. It’s not the only train wreck of the film though as the ending also manages to destroy and entire steam train in a style very reminiscent of last year’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, but much more accomplished and realized here. Wilkinson, Pepper, Bonham Carter and Wilson are supporting characters here -Wilson playing Reid’s unrequited love, Pepper a Calvary man, Wilkinson a railroad maven and Bonham Carter a madam with an interesting disability- and all do decent work. Pepper continues his experiments in fascinating facial hair here as well, topping his own insane goatee from “Snitch”. But Ficther’s performance is brilliant, and may be worth the price of admission on its own.
The film does lag in the middle as it easily runs about 30-40 minutes too long with a running time over 2 hours and 15 minutes, but it never got dull enough that it required any glances at the time. Is the film dumb? Yes. Is it preposterous? Yes. Is it the western equivalent of Fast & Furious 6? Pretty much, yeah. Check your brain at the door and prepare to lay back and enjoy the ride. And when the William Tell overture kicks in with 20 minutes left to go, try not to jump up and down in your seat too much.
3 1/2 out of 5
Till Next Time
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