Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Yarn
Reed prefers to rob coaches rather than trains. As he explains to his fellow
outlaws, that way you only have one or maybe two cowboys riding shotgun to
contend with. He declines to mention his disastrous episode at Blackstone
Switch, but we get the picture anyway. It is all good times until one soon-to-be
Hellbent Marshal loses an eye. He will then pursue vengeance with little or no
respect for the law in Terry Miles’ Stagecoach:
The Texas Jack Story (trailer
which opens this Friday in New York.
the misadventure with the now one-eyed Woody Calhoun, Reed tried to retire to a
life of farming with his wife Laura Lee. Judging the late mortgage payments,
this probably wasn’t the right time for Reed to go straight, but his hand will
be forced by the vengeful lawman. Receiving a few hours warning from his scummy
fellow gang member Frank Bell, Reed manages to make a break for it.
Deliberately misled into thinking Laura Lee was killed by Calhoun, Reed
re-starts the old gang, but this time it is more of a trio, with good old Sid
adding some stability.
wanting to sully his partly rehabilitated name, Reed now does his outlawing
under the name “Texas Jack,” an alias derived from Apple Jack whiskey and the
state they happen to be in. Of course, Calhoun is still on his trail. He and
his bounty hunter associate Bonnie Mudd have no scruples when it comes to
violence. Unfortunately, the shifty Bell might represent an equal cause for
many ways, screenwriters Dan Benamor and Matt Williams take liberties with Reed’s
already dubious life story, but they never come up with anything appreciably more
interesting. On the plus side, Trace Adkins is a wicked likeness of the Reed,
as preserved in vintage photographs, but that means he looks way too old and
crusty to have any kind of romance with Michelle Harrison’s Laura Lee. At least
he some flinty genre-appropriate screen presence. To everyone’s surprise, Judd
Nelson disappears into the role of Sid rather admirably. Gary Chalk and John
Emmet Tracy also add some flavor as Doc Forrester and Hank Holliday, an
unusually sympathetic bank manager. However, Kim Coates is so over-the-top and
shticky, it is almost impossible to buy into a rogue lawman gone so far rogue.
is basically an unremarkable oater, so it is
begging for bad karma by lifting the title of the 1939 John Wayne-John Ford
classic. Problematically, the film never looks like it takes place in Texas,
which will be an issue in the Lone Star State (it is officially a Canadian
production—and it looks it). It is just a time-killer that moseys along at its
own place. Ordinarily, a western fan will have to take what they can get, but
the Stagecoach opens hard on the
heels of Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence, which is ridiculously bad timing. Only for western diehards, Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story opens
this Friday (11/4) in New York, at the Village East.
Labels: Canadian Cinema, Western Cinema