Ten years ago A-list Hollywood star Johnny Depp, legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer and highly-acclaimed director Gore Verbinski were the golden boys at Disney – after turning a theme park ride called Pirates of the Caribbean into an unprecedented worldwide box-office smash.
But sadly lightning hasn’t struck twice for the trio – with this modern incarnation of the much-loved (in the States anyway) TV series proving to be nothing short of a box-office disaster.
Disney execs were worried about the $250m budget (and nearly canned the project once before) but with the trio’s track record they tentatively gave this the green light – and will undoubtedly wish they hadn’t.
As much as you try to give it the benefit of the doubt – even with the most open-mindedness – there’s nothing approaching excitement at any point during the film’s bloated duration.
Depp quite obviously felt he could put the same unique twist on Native American sidekick Tonto as he did with his much-lauded first Keith Richards-inspired turn as Jack Sparrow – but he alone can’t carry a movie that is misfiring in every department.
Armie Hammer shone in The Social Network, but is surprisingly unheroic (and generally quite annoying) as the title character, John ‘Lone Ranger’ Reid, with the usually dominating presence of Tom Wilkinson (as corporate fat cat Cole), William Fichtner (as escaped outlaw Butch Cavendish) and Helena Bonham Carter (in one of her most pointless roles to date as brothel Madam Red Harrington), struggling to ignite a by-the-numbers plot.
And that plot basically sees by-the-book lawman Reid left for dead – and his ranger brother Dan (James Badge Dale) killed – by Cavendish and his gang. He then reluctantly dons an eye-mask to hide his identity and seek revenge (and save his kidnapped sister-in-law Ruth Wilson) with warrior Tonto by his side.
But even the expensive action set-pieces fail to be memorable (particularly the finale when the famous Lone Ranger theme tune hits), and – bar the odd fleeting comedic moment from Depp – this is surprisingly quite a humourless affair.
The film’s 1859-set Western story being recounted by an old Tonto to a young Lone Ranger fan in the 1930s simply doesn’t work either, and stops what little entertainment momentum it has – which usually comes from Hammer and Depp’s passable on-screen chemistry.
The whole team behind the movie have said critics where waiting to vilify the film even before it was released – but generally scathing reviews are fully justified.
This is simply not a very good movie and undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the summer.
And for three of the biggest names in Hollywood at their respective jobs, to provide such an expensive misfire is quite staggering.
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Cast: Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, William Fichtner, Ruth Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, James Badge Dale, Helena Bonham Carter, Barry Pepper, Leon Rippy, Gil Birmingham, James Frain, Bryant Prince
Running Time: 2hrs 25mins
Directors: Gore Verbinski[youtube id=”LoVhgaj6PiE” width=”600″ height=”350″]