3:10 to Yuma Review
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I wonder what John Wayne would say about 3:10 to Yuma—the new shoot-‘em-up western that stars a guy from New Zealand and another guy from Wales. If I had to guess, I’d say he’d call it unpatriotic. But if you ask me, the Kiwi and the Brit do just fine, Pardner.

Christian Bale is Dan Evans, a rancher who’s just a week away from losing his farm. After losing his leg in the Civil War, Dan headed west with his family—but a drought left him in more debt than he could possibly repay. Just when he’s about to lose hope, though, he gets one last chance to take care of his family.

Evans is in the right place at the right time when the local marshal captures Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), the notorious outlaw who’s just robbed the coach that was supposed to deliver the railroad’s payroll. The railroad plans to prosecute Wade—but before they can see him hung, they have to get him to Contention and onto the train that will take him to the Yuma prison. They’re desperate to punish Wade—and Evans sees it as his opportunity to make the money to save his ranch. All he has to do is escort Wade and get him on the 3:10 to Yuma. But to do so, he has to avoid the rest of Wade’s men, who are set on freeing their boss.

3:10 to Yuma is a modern version of a classic western (one that was originally released in 1957, with Glenn Ford in Crowe’s role). The story isn’t exactly complex—and it won’t take you long to figure out how it’s going to end—but the characters will draw you in, and you’ll want to keep watching anyway. Just don’t expect the same edge-of-your-seat action that comes with most action films today. It moves a bit slowly at times—especially when the characters pause to chat for a while—but that’s just the way the old westerns work. They tend to move at their own pace. But don’t worry—there’s always another gunfight right around the corner (which should come as no surprise, since the screenplay was based on a short story by Elmore Leonard).

The highpoint of the film, though, is the acting. Even though I still haven’t quite warmed up to Bale, I loved him as Evans. Forget that he's Welsh (and believe me…you will)—because he just fits. He’s just the guy to play the strong, silent type of character that no western can be without.

And then there’s Crowe. He, too, tends to play strong-and-silent exceptionally well—but, this time, he’s the smooth-talking outlaw who can charm anyone he meets. And if he can’t charm them, he’ll buy them. And if he can’t buy them, well, he’ll just have to kill them. Crowe plays the role with swaggering confidence—and, outlaw or not, he’s so captivating as Wade that you can’t help but love him.

While adrenaline junkies may find 3:10 to Yuma to be a bit slow, fans of classic westerns won’t want to miss it. The story is solid, the characters are strong, and the acting couldn’t be better. If the Duke were still around, I have a feeling that even he might like it.

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