3:10 to Yuma

Distributed by: Lionsgate

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I enjoy watching a good western here and there.  I loved watching movies like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Outlaw, The Magnificent Seven and more.  So when a friend dropped by with 3:10 to Yuma, a western Iíd heard great things about, I couldnít wait to pop it into the DVD player.

            3:10 to Yuma stars Christian Bale as Dan Evans, an honest man attempting to make a decent living for his family despite the wooden leg he earned during his time serving the country in the Civil War.  Life as a cattle rancher in Arizona isnít easy and Evans finds himself in so much debt he is about to lose his ranch.  Things look desperate for Evans until he comes across a stagecoach robbery near his land.

            Russell Crowe is Ben Wade, leader of a notorious gang of outlaws.  As Evans comes to the scene of the robbery, Wade has just herded Evansí cattle into the path of the stagecoach, effectively blocking its escape.  Evans approaches Wade and requests that he return his cattle.  Wade, impressed with Evansí bravery, allows Evans and his son to live, turning over what is left of the cattle and leaving the scene with Evansí horses.

            Discovering that a Pinkerton agent (Peter Fonda) is the only survivor of the stagecoach heist, Evans takes him into town in search of medical attention.  Of course, this would be the same town that Wade and his gang decided to stop by on their way to Mexico.  Wade is still in town when Evans arrives and Evans begins to see an opportunity to prove his worth to his sons and to himself.

            Assisting in the capture of Ben Wade, Evans signs on (for the fee if $200) to help transport Wade to Contention where it is the intention of all involved that Wade will be place aboard the 3:10 train to Yuma Prison.  All involved, that is, except Ben Wade.  Can Evans get Wade on the 3:10 to Yuma, or will Wadeís gang cut Evans and his posse to ribbons, allowing Wade to escape punishment once again?

            3:10 to Yuma is actually a remake of a 1957 film of the same name based upon a short story by Elmore Leonard .  The main storyline is the same, but there are some differences in how the story plays out.  I think this version of 3:10 to Yuma was a much better film, offering the viewer greater character depth and much more action.

            Christian Bale is as intense as always in his role as an honest rancher willing to put his life on the line in order to provide a better life for his wife and children.  Iím not a huge fan of Russell Crowe, but I have to admit that I loved him in this film as devil-may-care outlaw Ben Wade.  Ben Foster is incredibly believable as Charlie Prince, a sociopathic, cold-blooded murderer and right-hand man to Ben Wade.  Logan Lerman portrays Evansí oldest son perfectly: with just the right amount of rebellious rancor that makes the viewer want to slap him on occasion and yet with enough love in his heart for his father that you just want to give him a hug by the end of the film.

            Action film fans will love the variety of action available: stagecoach robberies, gun battles, explosions, horse chase scenes and hand-to-hand combat.  Battles are intense, nail-biting, adrenaline boosters, the kind that make action film aficionados drool.

            All-in-all, Iíd have to say that 3:10 to Yuma, starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, was just about the best western I have seen in quite a while and well-worth all the praise received from critics.  Itís an enjoyable film from start to startling finish that no fan of westerns or action films alike would want to miss.


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