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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They do what they do
Virgil Cole (Harris) and Everett Hitch (Mortensen) are a pair of traveling lawmen for hire. When they arrive at the town of Appaloosa, the town fathers are more than willing to pay the price and accept that Cole IS the law. They're under the thumb of rich rancher, Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) who shot their former sheriff in cold blood.

They get a break in...
Published on October 11, 2008 by R. Kyle

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 'Cept For One Glaring Defect...
The horrible miscasting of Renee Zellweger. Wholly unbelievable in her role as 'Yoko' to the two-man gun-toting horse-riding Beatles.

Otherwise, this was an excellent movie. The indomitable energy that Ed Harris carries, both as performer and director, was only bolstered by the granite that is Viggo Mortensen.

Kudos to both steely jawed actors - they...
Published on May 14, 2011 by MadMacs


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 'Cept For One Glaring Defect..., May 14, 2011
By 
MadMacs (Honolulu, HI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Appaloosa (DVD)
The horrible miscasting of Renee Zellweger. Wholly unbelievable in her role as 'Yoko' to the two-man gun-toting horse-riding Beatles.

Otherwise, this was an excellent movie. The indomitable energy that Ed Harris carries, both as performer and director, was only bolstered by the granite that is Viggo Mortensen.

Kudos to both steely jawed actors - they were absolutely perfect in their respective roles. And notice how deep Mortensen got into his role: Check out the forehead tan line from wearing a hat. That's pure Method on display, and I'm very appreciative of it. Hardcore acting there brother.

An old school cowboy narrative - and for me, it's never gone out of style. Harris does a sturdy job of creating the nascent explosive undercurrent that I've only seen Eastwood do better in a modern western.

And props to Harris for hiring Lance Henriksen. It's not an understatement to say that he's been underutilized for years - forced to take paycheck jobs instead of performing for an audience who can appreciate his talents. I do wonder if Harris made friends with him during the shooting of 'The Right Stuff'. Not all ensemble casts end up lifelong friends, but I like to think so.

This would've been an easy four-stars for me, but Zellweger's maddeningly oafish overacting is not something you can ignore. Her character is critical to the plot, and her plastic ingratiating performance detracts from the entire production. One has to wonder how Harris was conned into having her in the film, I suspect some serious arm-twisting. No way an actor's actor like him could've been that fooled by her ridiculously inflated resumé. The question is who put the pressure on for her hiring?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Western In Years, January 21, 2010
This review is from: Appaloosa (DVD)
This fine western is more like the classics such as 'Shane' from the 40's and 50's, when the genre reached its artistic peak, than the ultra-violent post-Wild Bunch school. This is a refreshing and welcome change of pace. The progressive increase in violence, misogyny and sadism since the 1960's, although yielding some admitted classics such as 'Unforgiven,' is an ultimately an artistic dead end.

'Appaloosa' is a western that contains interesting and plausible characters, some of whom you will identify with, struggling with the human condition in various aspects, as the plot unfolds in an interesting manner. There are some good gun fights, there is horseback riding, there is wonderful scenery, excellent photography, and fine acting.

This movie is paced more like the classic westerns than today's action movies, where someone gets tortured, killed, or blowed up about every 2 minutes because the director thinks all the 14 year old ADHD boys in the theater will go to sleep if he does otherwise. In my opinion, this is a great improvement over the recent '3:10 to Yuma,' which was too oppressively hyperactive and stupid for someone over 30 to enjoy.

My wife, who is not nearly as keen on westerns as am I, enjoyed this movie almost as much as I did. As a fan of westerns, I give this movie an extra star because there are so few good westerns made anymore. A person not interested in westerns would probably give this a 4.

Nonetheless, this is a very good movie for adults who like good movies, and a real treat for fans of classic westerns.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to perfection, December 20, 2008
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This review is from: Appaloosa (DVD)
A reflection on life in a reckless western village with enough modern elements to keep us anticipating every turn in the plot. The shots through the authentic looking wavy glass were cinematic brilliance. The quiet confidence of Cole the lawman mixed with his confusion over the "fairer" sex added extra enchantment. Viggo's choice pose in the conflagration near the end is ever so unique and memorable. This is a wonderful chunk of western believability and I'm proud to rate it in my Top 10!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Walk softly and carry a big shotgun, January 31, 2009
This review is from: Appaloosa (DVD)
Appaloosa as directed by Ed Harris, is a western that will appeal to most fans of the genre regardless of one's preference for the traditional vein in the mode of John Wayne or the modern interpretations like 3:10 to Yuma.

Virgil Cole (Harris) and his long-time associate Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) are essentially `cleaners' of a bygone era. Appaloosa is just another dusty town in need of their particular brand of expertise, establishment of a codified rule of law - as defined by the no nonsense Cole - and eradication of the human blight that has plagued the area for the last few years, Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) and his despicable crew of trail vermin. While it does not take long to ascertain there will be confrontations on the horizon, the arrival in town of a young attractive widow, Allison French (played by Rene Zellweger) immediately foreshadows complications that may irretrievably alter the dynamic between the complementary partners, Cole and Hitch.

There's plenty enough action and violence for the bloodthirsty viewer and well as refined cynicism for those who appreciate the contemplative portrayal of the new age intellectual cowboy (Mortensen's understated performance is a gem, somewhat reminiscent of Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone, absent the addictiveness) but to the credit of Harris' direction and the screenplay adaptation of Robert B. Parker's novel, the film never seems to meander into the fantastical, where quite often the protagonists are seemingly invincible and infallible.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Western! Harris and Mortensen Shine!, October 4, 2008
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Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen star as two talented town tamers in APPALOOSA. The movie hit the big screen this weekend and I took one of my sons to the first showing early this afternoon. We both had a good time, and my trust and confidence in the stars was well deserved.

The movie is based on the novel written by bestselling author, Robert B. Parker. Parker has been writing the adventures of Spenser, a private eye born in Laramie, Wyoming, for years, and Spenser is as rough and tumble as any gunfighter in the Old West. Lately, the author has successfully dipped his quill into the Western arena.

I read the book when it came out a few years ago and had a good time with it. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the two heroes in the novel, and was pleased to see it reflected in the movie. Ed Harris plays Virgil Cole, one of the most feared and respected lawmen in the Old West. Viggo Mortensen stars as Everett Hitch, Cole's dedicated and deadly right hand man.

The book creates a tight plot line with a lot of twists and turns. When I read it, I saw how easily it could become a screenplay. Parker writes lean, muscular prose. Obviously Ed Harris saw the same thing because he negotiated the rights to star and direct in the film.

APPALOOSA starts off with a bang. Three of them, in fact. Bragg, a powerful man in the small but growing town of Appaloosa, faces the town marshal and defends two of his men that raped and killed a man and his wife. When the marshal doesn't take no for an answer, Bragg kills the marshal and his two deputies.

Virgil and Everett arrive and Harris takes advantage of those couple moments to establish sweeping shots of the desolate countryside. Harris stays primarily with the characters and the action, but there are a lot of opportunities to shoot the sweeping landscape. The action takes place in Appaloosa, outside of town, in the hills and mountains, and in another small town with Mexican architecture.

I loved the detailed Old West setting. The bar and buildings look and feels well-researched. The house Virgil is buying on the outside of town is incredibly small by today's standards, but Allie (Renee Zellweger) acts excited about having it built.

Of all the characters in the movie, Zellweger - in my opinion - has the hardest time pulling off her role. The character is complicated because she bounces between a sympathetic and naïve woman to a cold and calculating one. This type of female character often shows up in Parker's work, so long-time fans won't be surprised to watch her in action. However, Zellweger's performance actually softens the character from the book.

Parker likes showing the dichotomy between the strong, silent male and one that can be twisted around a conniving woman's little finger. Many of his characters have suffered through that in his novels. That paradigm is understated and succinct in the movie, but it still works well.

The author has also penned a sequel that came out this year, RESOLUTION. He has one more planned that will tie up Virgil and Everett's saga.

The film's action is compelling. The movie and the actors keep a lot of balls in play. The sound effects on the gunshots are especially well done. Many viewers might not be able to tell it, but the gunshots sound like heavy thumps, from coarse black powder rather than the cleaner-burning cordite all of today's rounds are made with.

There is a moment of brief nudity and the language is rough in a couple places, but not in any way that will be overly offensive. I think APPALOOSA is a modern tribute to yesterday's Western movies in a lot of ways. The heroes are brave and noble, but they're also flawed. Harris and Mortensen play those iconic lawmen to the hilt with a hint of swagger and elegance by the bushelful. If you're a Western fan, this is a movie you'll enjoy. And if you haven't seen a Western in a while, this is one you don't want to miss.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Close to Unforgiven in tone and amount of action, December 21, 2008
By 
Monkdude (Hampton, Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Appaloosa [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
If you don't mind a slow burn western, Appaloosa has much to admire. The acting by both Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen is outstanding and the dialogue is believable for the most part. There is even some good humor thrown in, especially in the first half of the movie. While not as dark and gritty as Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, Ed Harris has created a western that never seems to be in a hurry. It has a nice relaxing feel to it, though the last half could have been trimmed up a bit. There isn't much action at all, and when there is, it is over in no time. Which is realistic (The real gunfight at the O.K. Corral was over in 30 seconds), but might not please the average person who paid $10.00 to see 3:10 to Yuma (2007 version) all over again.

Appaloosa is often quiet, nicely acted, sometimes funny and well worth the time of any western fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - for those who appreciate story/plot/character-driven films, October 5, 2009
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This review is from: Appaloosa (DVD)
Go read Roger Ebert's review.

This movie is not 3:10 to Yuma (the remake w/ Bale and Crowe). There's definitely less action. However, the film plays like you're reading a dime novel. Gritty characters. You can almost taste the dust and feel the biting wind. I'm not a big fan of Renee Zellweger. But, personal bias aside she really puts on a good performance - as does Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, AND Jeremy Irons (how can you not love that combination?)

It may be slow to some, but like I said, it plays like you're reading a dime novel.

If you liked this, you'll like David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises" The movie does have its action sequences, but it's more a story about characters and their moral dilemmas.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will become a classic, June 6, 2010
This review is from: Appaloosa (DVD)
Best western I saw in years. Outstanding performances... Mortensen,Harris,Irons and Zellweger...
The story plot is as real as life itself...And you will see at the end of the movie that sometimes things are not
as they look...or may be the opposite...This was for me the main message.
The fact that I am from the River Plate makes me feel a special sympathy for Viggo Mortensen that as I said played a great role in this movie
I recommend this movie to all people interested in good cinema
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine film, September 27, 2012
By 
Joyce (Bonham, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Appaloosa (DVD)
Ed Harris decided to take a stab at the western genre, and the result is not a predictable film. He directs Appaloosa and also plays Virgil Cole, a good guy gunman who hires out with his partner, Everett (Viggo Mortensen) to clean the bad guys out of Western towns. Jeremy Irons plays the bad guy in the town of Appaloosa. The woman in the story is Renee Zellweger. Harris makes good use of this fine cast to tell a story with subtlety and insight into the characters. Virgil and Everett's friendship is marked by its honesty and trust and their ability to expertly handle the complications that arise in gunfights, negotiating with townspeople and Indians, releasing hostages, and such. Their biggest challenge is dealing with the widow that Virgil falls for. Zellweger's Allison French reveals the vulnerable situation of women in such a society. What looks like superficial promiscuity on her part is actually a strong instinct for survival. The gunfights are interesting and well done, but the best part is the slow-paced dialogue and meaningful glances. A fine film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appaloosa [Blu-ray], April 16, 2009
This review is from: Appaloosa [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Westerns are few and far between anymore. Fortunately most of the ones made now are pretty well done. Appaloosa is in fact, very well done. Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, and Renee Zellweger give fine performances along with the rest the cast. The costumes and sets will make you feel more than this is a re-enactment. Harris directs this one with a mixed style. The story is a tale of two lawmen in the old West. Plenty of realistic action in this old John Wayne like story (two lawmen against big corrupt rancher, e.g. El Dorado) with modern hard hitting style like Open Range. This is a movie that should entertain any adult or youngster with adult consent. Other than a little cussing and one brief distant nude scene of the back of Zellwegger I'm not sure I understand an R rating. Parents will have to decide whether they think it is approriate for their kids. If you enjoyed this catch Tombstone.

CA Luster
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Appaloosa [Blu-ray]
Appaloosa [Blu-ray] by Ed Harris (Blu-ray - 2009)
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