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Reviews & Ratings for
American Outlaws More at IMDbPro »

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Surprisingly Good

Author: Melissa from Chicago, IL
17 August 2001

I must admit, when my friends and I walked into the movie theater, I wasn't expecting "American Outlaws" to be anything special. As the child of a Western Fanatic, I've seen my share of Western movies the good, the bad, and the ones that never should have been made. Within the first ten minutes of the movie, I began to think that maybe I was wrong. The casting for this movie was just incredible. By choosing a group of relatively unknown actors, the movie spent less time trying to make the stars look good and more time on the storyline. The storyline itself was a creative spin on the story of Jesse James. I've never seen the characters portrayed quite the same way before. Instead of the expected group of heartless murderers, the James-Younger (or Younger-James) gang was made up of former Confederate soldiers who were looking for a little vengeance. In a daring move for any western, Outlaws had a strong lead female character. Actress Ali Larter held her own in the testosterone enriched cast, proving that she's more than just a pretty face who looks good in period clothing. Overall, the movie had only one fault: It seemed entirely too short. I left the theater wanting more. More of the movie that is. Perhaps I will see it again.

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fun for most of the family

Author: babysquid from California
16 August 2001

I received free preview passes to this movie and thought "what the heck, it's free." Not being a fan of westerns this movie was not on the high end of my to-see list. I was pleasantly surprised when I was became entranced during the first few minutes. I enjoyed this film from start to finish. It has the action to make it a "guys" film and the plot and character development ( plus hot guys) to make it a "chick" flick.

Also, it should be noted that I took my siblings- one older (late 20's) brother, one younger (16 yrs old) brother, and one younger sister (12)-- and everyone enjoyed this movie. It was nice to be able to finally have a movie we could all see without worrying about the little one. And without the rest of us being bored. Thank you Warner Bros.

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A good new western with new faces.

Author: ( from California
15 August 2001

I enjoyed this movie. I do really enjoy a good western. This was a good western. Maybe a bit goody to be realistic but I still enjoyed the movie. I really liked that fact that all the main characters were not played by "big" name actors/actress's. New faces are always a treat especially when they are as fresh and attractive as these were. I enjoyed it, as did my teenage son, and my 9 and 3 year old daughters, so I would say this was a good family movie.

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Robin Hood with a Six-gun?

Author: katana_one from Jacksonville, FL
15 August 2001

I left the theatre wondering if I really enjoyed this film or not. And you should never have to ask yourself if you like should be a clear "yes" or "no" answer.

Aside from the great number of historical inaccuracies (allow the writers some degree of creative license here), I thought the film had an unfinished feel to it. The story ends just when things are getting interesting, in my opinion.

The characters are unconvincing...Timothy Dalton's accent seems to fade in and out through the whole film, as one example. All of the supporting characters are stereotypically stupid or incompetent, while the main characters seem to belong in a different era altogether.

To sum it all up, this is an action movie disguised as a western. It is also a very forgettable film, but you might enjoy it for the time it is on screen.

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One of th Best of Summer 2001!

Author: ( from Baltimore, MD
15 August 2001

I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would. I am not a huge western fan, but this movie was the best western I've seen in a while.

The ensemble cast was great! They worked well together especially the "gang" of outlaws. One of the reasons for wanting to see this movie was Colin Farrell. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors even though he is a relative newcomer.

The story was pretty tight although I am not up enough on western history to know how close it was to "true" history. There was never really a slow moment in the movie. Each character had his/her own storyline which was played out nicely for an ensemble cast.

Go see this movie! You won't be disappointed.

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Pure entertainment

Author: Rose-111 from Seattle, Washington
15 August 2001

Going into this movie I wasn't sure what to expect. I was expecting action, but not a comedy. I laughed through out the entire movie. It was worth the seven dollars. Sometimes you need a break from all the epic dramas and stupid teen-flicks. It's pure entertainment. Colin Farrell is a great Jesse James, and if you love him in this, check out his amazing performance in Tigerland.

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Young Guns revisited!

Author: ( from United States
15 August 2001

This movie had all the same elements that made Young Guns such a popular hit in the 80's... humor, action, and strong characters. It does the same for Young Guns as Young Guns did for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It's the constant cycle of "old ideas, with fresh faces" at it's most blatant and obvious. Just replace Emilio Estevez with Colin Farrell, and Keifer Sutherland with Gabriel Macht. As an added bonus, we even have Terry Quinn and Craig Erickson from Young Guns making their appearances as the Deputy and as Rollin Parker. I actually wanted to hate the movie for it's appeal to pop-culture teen movies, but I actually was highly entertained. I love Ali Larter! :)

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Overall, well done

Author: colcam
15 August 2001

Overall this was a movie that was well done-- pure fluff, perhaps, with a large dollop of post feminist womanhood (in the form of Ali Larter, an actor we should see more of in larger roles) and with large doses of violence that were far, far too clean.

Perhaps the writers and directors should be compelled to learn a little more about the effects of a bullet impact on the human body, or how likely it is that a thin piece of wood might stop that bullet from plowing through the man cowering behind. I cringe at the way motion picture tends to treat these rather dangerous items; demonizing them on one hand and pretending they are only mildly discomforting and slightly dangerous on the other hand.

Is there a rule of motion picture that says physical laws must be disregarded when the protagonist is the subject of those laws? Heroes are not bulletproof, and in real combat (or even western shoot outs) bullets tend to wander into people, and in so doing cause horrendous damage. Guns recoil, bullets go through walls, and both combatants and the innocent are casualties. In real life people don't recover from a rifle round in the chest in two weeks. In real life people die unless they have exceptional modern medical care.

Maybe this is just fluff, or maybe we are educating ourselves to act in a stupid and dangerous manner by remaining willing to accept the "Hero runs around untouched in a gunfight" style of film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Fun but surely not historically accurate

Author: vchimpanzee
29 April 2012

I know Jesse James was no hero. I remember how Bobby Brady had to be convinced by everyone's kindly old grandfather Burt Mustin. And in a nightmare, a good-looking charmer had a deadly finger.

Well, Colin Farrell is also a good-looking charmer, more like Uncle Jesse Katsopolis than a wanted criminal. He doesn't kill a single person in this movie, and he is never anything other than polite, with only the best of intentions. Take from the rich and give to the poor, and let people know what could happen if they didn't. It was the Youngers who were evil and scary, and if Jesse and Frank ever go straight we're all in trouble.

And once the James boys and the Youngers start their crime spree, this movie quickly turns into wacky comedy. It's a lot of fun.

Yes, if only those railroad barons hadn't been so ruthless, the James boys and the Youngers could have been decent farmers who led simple lives.

The James brothers were raised right, and Kathy Bates gives a fine yet brief performance as a devoted Christian with a gun who wasn't afraid to use it. It was only the first of two performances by her I saw the same day, and this one may have been slightly better.

In addition to being a charmer, Jesse is also an action hero with amazing abilities. Only in the movies! There's no way, especially on a Civil War battlefield. But it is fun to watch anyway.

And Ali Larter is beautiful, from the very first time she turns around to show that gorgeous smile. But not merely gorgeous. She has brains too. Who knew that right after the Civil war a woman could be treated almost as an equal by tough hombres?

Timothy Dalton stands out as the evil yet strangely likable Alan Pinkerton, the ruthless villain of the movie. Yes, this movie turns morals upside down and makes the hero into the villain. But after all, we're not rooting for those rich railroad tycoons.

I do have two minor issues with this movie. I don't care for high-tech music to begin with, but in a Western? Music that won't be written for one hundred years by ZZ Top ("Shanghai Noon") fits, while Moby most certainly doesn't. The live music performed for a dance was good but may also have been ahead of its time.

I noticed at the end this movie was called fiction and no one depicted should be assumed to be based on anyone real. I get that now. This was not how it happened.

But it's fun to watch anyway.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Farrell Shines in Otherwise Bland Re-Interpretation of the James Gang

Author: noralee from Queens, NY
22 December 2005

"American Outlaws" has a better historical sense than the Young Guns series.

While its contemporary slang, haircuts, make-up and gleaming white teeth on the attractive stars are definitely non-period, I was surprised that this re-interpretation of the Jesse James myth actually worked as a story line. I don't remember seeing a Western, particularly none by John Ford, that made the link before between post-Civil War societal transformations, the railroad construction, federal government intervention and the James gang.

With a lot less to work with dialog-wise than he had in "Tigerland," Colin Farrell is still mesmerizing to the camera (even though his native Irish brogue occasionally slips out), helped by standing-out in comparison to his too bland co-stars.

Of course, no visages can match the sets of actual brothers and relatives that Walter Hill used in "The Long Riders" to viscerally communicate the James/Younger gang's closeness.

Timothy Dalton's Pinkerton hints at an interesting historical character.

There's an odd credit at the end that some scenes were taken from the movie Maverick - scenery or something else?

(originally written 8/21/2001)

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