Cowboys & Aliens: When Two Worlds Collide

“Cowboys & Aliens” takes audiences into the Old West, where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from another world.

Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal/Universal Studios and DreamWorks II Distribution Co. LLC

A stranger (played by Daniel Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into a desert town in 1873, and the only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. Soon after his arrival, the city is attacked by strange creatures from the sky who abduct several residents from the town. As the action unfolds, the lone ranger joins forces with a band of cowboys and Apache warriors to unleash their gunslinger on the alien force.

It’s devilishly clever of director Jon Favereau to combine the two genres (sci-fi and western), and although he has harnessed a decent balance between escapist fun and hard-edged action, that’s where the cleverness stops. If you’re expecting a smart and savvy action flick with plenty of twists and turns — you’re watching the wrong movie. With a flimsy explanation for the alien’s existence — although they look exceedingly terrifying, and an even flimsier reason for their un-announced visit to planet earth, the final confrontation is far from climactic.

In the typical Western, everybody recognizes the man with no name. He walks into town and everyone wonders who he is and what he’s trying to do. This one’s a sci-fi spin of the man with no name who was abducted by aliens, and hence doesn’t remember who he was.

A tepid big-budget special effects flick, “Cowboys & Aliens,” which also stars Harrison Ford as the town’s corrupt leader is a collision of genres that offers nothing more than mundane entertainment.

With an arsenal of top movie-makers –Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci behind the scenes, “Cowboys & Aliens” has the potential to be a blockbuster, but instead what we are offered is a farcical cross between “Star Trek” and “Indiana Jones.”

There’s little audiences haven’t seen before, so it’s strictly for those who just want to suspend disbelief and settle back for simple tepid fun.

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