Cowboys & Aliens - Cinema Review

'Have the aliens met their match? Of course they flaming well have, he's James Bond'

Cinematic aliens always seems to pick the worst places, full of the most resilient people imaginable, to launch their attempts to take over the world. In Cowboys & Aliens, they may have chosen their worst place yet: 1873 Arizona, a badland full of bad men, top most of whom is Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), who manages to kill three people before the camera has even had time to blink. Have they met their match? Of course they flaming well have, he's James Bond for God's sake.

Although its not based on a videogame, Cowboys & Aliens looks like it might have come from distinctly similar stock. The entire two hours plays out rather like a series of levels as the characters edge closer to the final boss battle which, despite evidence to the contrary with twenty minutes or so to go, director Jon Favreau does manage to rustle up from somewhere deep within his saddle bags.

The duelling genres of Science-Fiction and Western play off each other nicely on occasion but they also feel like they're treading on each other's toes too. Parts of the film have the tone of the quiet Westerns of the Sixties and Seventies but, no sooner has a drunken conversation round a campfire started than it is oft interrupted by a laser blast or two. If anything, the generic invasion story benefits from the locales and the mantras of making a Western than the other way round: the Western element is only ever rudely punctuated by the Science-Fiction geek's need to blow something up; from cows to boats to homesteads.

Accepting that what you're getting here is a generic summer film (akin in more ways than one to Battle: LA from earlier in the year) where some big stars have come out to play in roles barely deserving of them (Sam Rockwell and Paul Dano have no need to be here) and some even bigger stars have deemed this worthy of their presence (Harrison Ford makes it through without collapsing under the weight of his own ego, just), then there is a decent Sci-Fi lurking round these parts. Perhaps the film it feels most reminiscent of is actually nothing to do with the genres on display here. The Losers was a fun, out of the box, slightly tame actioner from 2010. It arrived, entertained for a short while, gave us a load of stock characters no-one can now remember, served its purpose without stamping its identity and shuffled off. This does very much the same which, considering it has Bond, Indiana Jones and the director of Iron Man, is really a little bit of a shame.

Look further...

'Favreau's ham-fisted direction turns what should be a fun, wild romp into a humourless, boring slog, and that's unforgivable.' - The Incredible Suit


  1. A complete non-entity of a movie. What else is there to say?!

  2. i thought this was a lot of fun. i was satisfied.

  3. BRENT - I'm not sure it's quite that bad. Surely there's something in there that you liked?

    Candice - I was too... just. I definitely wanted more but it did enough to ensure I went away fairly happy.

  4. Nope...completely wooden! It was like watching the whole cast do a Keanu Reeves impersonation. I don't blame the acors as much as the paper thin script.