An old gunslinger and his daughter must face the consequences of his past, when the son of a man he murdered years ago arrives to take his revenge.

Chuck says:

Take a bit of “Unforgiven,” a dash of “True Grit,” throw in a sleepwalking Nicolas Cage and you get “The Old Way,” a bland and at times rather dull western that breaks no new ground, content to cover well-trod narrative territory with a listlessness that, when compared to a sloth, would make the quadruped look like the life of the party.  And while it runs only a scant 95 minutes, this throwaway exercise at times seems interminable, Brett Donowho adhering to a languid pace that saps the energy from this already tepid tale.

Cage is Colton Briggs, a former bounty hunter who’s trying to put his violent past behind him. He’s now the proprietor of a general store as well as a family man with a devoted wife, Ruth (Kerry Knuppe) and a daughter, Brooke (Ryan Kierra Armstrong), who he treats as a nuisance. You can tell this way of life is not to his liking, the ex-gunslinger impatient and fidgety, uncomfortable with his day-to-day existence.  However, his routine is shattered when a gang of outlaws come to his home and brutally murder his wife. Seems like the leader of the gang (Noah LeGros) has a score to settle with Briggs, who we saw kill his father in a prologue that occurred 15 years earlier. Intent on exacting his own revenge, the new widower and Brooke set out to track the killers down.

Much like the B-Westerns that played on the bottom-half of double bills throughout the ‘40’s and 50’s, this simplistic entertainment doesn’t aim to break any new ground, as it is nothing but a pastiche of genre tropes. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, as many movies are content to tell stories we’re familiar with. Yet, the successful ones are those that approach the material with a sense of enthusiasm or at least reverence, telling the story as if it were being told for the first time with a sense of sincerity or urgency. That certainly isn’t the approach here, the script by Carl W. Lewis a collection of tired cliches. He doesn’t even try to put a revisionist spin on things, he, Donowho and Cage content to give us a movie that had already been produced far too many times when Audie Murphy rode the range.

2 Stars

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