3:10 to Yuma (2007) Poster


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An old fashioned modern western
harricks21 August 2007
I saw this film last night at a preview in the lead up to the Toronto International Film Festival. Having never been a big western fan (with a few exceptions - Shane, High Noon, The Wild Bunch) and having been rather indifferent to Walking The Line, James Mangold's last directorial effort, my expectations were modest, despite the hype that the film has received. But I was duly impressed. The action and tension remain constant throughout but, more importantly, the plot is compelling and the acting is terrific. No doubt many will be impressed by Ben Foster's affected performance as Russell Crowe's loyal but psychopathic sidekick (think Johnny Depp in the Pirate movies) but to my taste it was much too over the top in a cast that offered a number of subtle and well thought out performances.

Russell Crowe is brilliant as the arrogant, amoral outlaw Ben Wade and Christian Bales infuses his role as a beleaguered rancher and Civil War veteran with just the right mix of pathos and dignity. Iy was wonderful to see Peter Fonda be given a role in which he was allowed to demonstrate his genuine talent, much too long hidden away. In my view, though, it is Logan Lerman who most deserves the accolades that will certainly come his way. He plays Bales' teenage son who comes of age in the course of the film. Initially disillusioned with a father whom he sees as drudge and a failure, he eventually recognizes his father as the hero he is (or at least becomes).

Cinematically, this film ranks up there with the best westerns of all time. It is consistently beautiful to watch and captures the expanse and majesty of the American west as well as any movie I've ever seen.

In many respects this is a traditional western (it is a remake, after all). They really don't make movies like this much anymore and it will be interesting to see whether it finds an audience in this era of dumbed down teen comedies and quirky slices of dysfunctional modern life. I wish it well.
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jdesando21 August 2007
"The boys dressed themselves, hid their accoutrements, and went off grieving that there were no outlaws any more, and wondering what modern civilization could claim to have done to compensate for their loss. They said they would rather be outlaws a year in Sherwood Forest than President of the United States forever." Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer

In 3:10 to Yuma, a few references to The Magnificent Seven and the idea of a train arriving at a specific time when good and bad guys converge, as in High Noon, made viewing this Glenn Ford remake from 1957 a pleasant one. And right I was but for even more good reasons.

Not since Unforgiven and The Quick and the Dead have I been as excited about seeing a Western in its heroic and revisionist forms. 3:10 to Yuma is a true Western in the American film tradition about the 19th-century American West: It has clear heroes and villains (and a mixture of those), wide prairies, dirty towns, fast guns, weak lawmen, cunning murderers, kids on the cusp, and women marginalized, just for starters.

Then ratchet up to the philosophical/post modern/post Eastwood reflections on the profession of being a gunman juxtaposed with being a responsible father, and you have an classic angst-filled clash where villain has a wee bit of heart and hero an equal measure of cowardice. Delightfully mix in a certifiable baddie in the Lee Van Cleef/Jack Palance tradition, Ben Foster (Alpha Dog) as Wade's amoral lieutenant Charlie Prince (as in "of darkness"). Best of all, it is nail-bitingly suspenseful and beautifully photographed.

In order to pickup some home-saving cash, poor crippled farmer Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is helping transport murderer Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to court via the 3:10 to Yuma from Bisbee, Arizona. Getting Wade to the station is no easy task, even for the several deputies, because Wade's evil gang is in hot pursuit and more importantly, Wade is psychologically working on them from within, alternately charming and brutal; just imagine his roguish smile behind an extremely fast gun and unscrupulous conscience.

It's hard to believe a studio could dump such a winner in the dog days of summer. I will say only that if you have even a modicum of respect for this genre, see 3:10 to Yuma and relive the golden days of straight-up shoot-em ups with rough-hewn characters, electric plot, and revisionist attitude about the romance of being an outlaw or a farmer. Get there on time because that movie train goes fast from the get go.
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an insult to a film viewer's intelligence
Gorbo18 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I can look at all the outrageous contradictions, bad cgi explosions/scope effect/fake town effect/cloud effect, etc, numskulled goofs and sheer idiotic behavior from characters in the film, and idiotic continuity from film makers, except a few. The script writer, continuity supervisor, and director should all have been fired. 3:10 to Yuma (2007) is an insult to a film viewer's intelligence.

The gang, who does'nt seem capable enough to shoot anyone very well, is so dumb that they can't stop a slow stage coach? An armored coach (+3000 lbs), complete with a Gatling gun (+1000 lb) in the back (film for teen action fans)? Yeah right, it would weigh a ton so the horses could not pull it for long, plus the Gatling gun could not be fired while moving. Easy way to stop a slow stage coach, just shoot two horses. Wow, yeah, it's that easy folks.

Fonda (aside from his hideous acting) takes a .44 slug to the gut and rides out of it, then he rides out the next day without bleeding to death? Dumb dead white guys left on rocks, left by Apaches in front of their "camp area" so that everyone knows they (Apaches) live there. Not too smart script writer. Dumb white guys camp with an open fire in Apache country and live? Apaches, using rifles, are shooting in pure darkness, wearing "war paint" and traditional feather caps, while not moving around to disguise their location? It was also an insult to portray the Apaches as "cold blooded killers" while they were fighting for their tradition, family and lives.

For one, they would not use guns. They would wait, then surprise the camp (who was trespassing on their sacred land), and use arrows and knives. This was truly laughable and degrading to Apache skills as warriors. Wade, in cuffs, in pure darkness, guts 3 Apaches??? A stack of TNT is tossed in the air, then easily blown up by lead bits from shotgun, thereby causing extensive damage to a very secure "open" drilled tunnel that is very sound. This was truly laughable.

The last scene, which is badly edited (notice people walking about during gun battle, then gone in next scene, snow on ground in a drought season, etc), was absurd. A one legged man with a shotgun outruns everyone (thanks to shaky camera), then stops in the open to unfasten the train door and gets shot in the back? Well yeah, there was a gun battle 2 minutes previous. This was truly laughable.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) is an insult to a film viewer's intelligence, especially the insane ending where Wade shoots up his own gang who was attempting to free him. That tops the heap the most. It is degrading. For one, it doesn't prove Wade was "moral", just a schizo because he's yapping about escaping in the hotel a few minutes earlier.

The script writer has little in the way of intelligent reasoning.
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Worse than bad
jim-86217 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a stinker of the Nth order. Nothing in this movie rings true. From the moment when the McElroy character played by Peter Fonda is shot POINT BLANK in the stomach, and not only doesn't die, but lives on to lead the posse after cold-turkey surgery THE SAME DAY, this movie lost me. From then on, all I see are its flaws.

They are countless.

The story is muddled and confused. There is dialog that uses contemporary vernacular. The end is SO COMPLETELY unbelievable that it isn't even worth spoiling for you all.

Smells like the old West, though. Like fresh road apples or cow pie.

In short, this was a remake that should never have seen the light of day. James Mangold, director, clearly let everything get away from him, as he did in Walk The Line, a movie that ended up being a really bad film vehicle for Ocsar nominees, but started out being a really good biography of Johnny Cash that NEVER DELIVERED.

Miss this train! The 3:10 to Yuma is garbage.
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No western, with courageous sacrifice, can be stunning by accident!
Nazi_Fighter_David30 March 2008
Christian Bale (Dan Evans) holds the screen as an honest rancher who volunteers for two hundred dollars to be part of a doomed group of guards to take the enigmatic bandit and killer Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to a train, the 3:10, leaving Bisbee, Arizona for Yuma prison to trial…

Beaten down by an old Civil War injury, and unable to protect his farm and his family from Wade's ruthless gang and humiliated by his teenage son (Logan Lerman) who makes no efforts to hide his disappointment in his impoverished father, and who doesn't try to hide the fact that he admires the charismatic criminal, Dan finds a great quantity of reasons to undertake the perilous trip to Contention City to fight back like a real man and regain his son's respect… The story concentrates on Evans whose unknown destiny tries to paint to his son an unforgettable picture turning up poignant and endearing…

Wade—leader of a murderous band of robbers—had great respect for Dan throughout the film and develops a kind of understanding and appreciation for him… Their short scenes in the hotel room celebrate the virtues of two opposite men who stand up for what they believe stopping on issues in relation with family, dignity, virtue, and admirable integrity… The best scenes are those in which Wade teases Dan: "Your conscience is sensitive, Dan. It's not my favorite part of you."

Crowe's interpretation of a gifted cold-blooded smooth-talking bad man is one of the most compelling parts of the film… Bale is splendid as the struggling, crippled rancher, misunderstood by his whole family… The two actors comfortably inhabit this stunning western…

It is nice to see that there are still good westerns being made lately… And James Mangold's "3:10 to Yuma," a remake of Delmer Daves' 1957 picture, is one of them… It is a Western with realistic violence, great action sequences, breathtaking photography, and an inevitable final shoot-out…
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Don't Miss This Movie
teresa-elbin3 September 2007
It's one of the best westerns and best all-around movies I've seen in a long time. That's largely due to the outstanding performances by the cast, ably led by the alpha male, bad guy, Russell Crowe. His protagonist is Christian Bale who turns in a nuanced performance as the down-on-his luck rancher. The scenes between these two men are riveting and a display of acting at its best. The supporting cast are all wonderful and in particular, Ben Foster, Fonda and Logan Lerman as Bale's oldest son.

The action is virtually non-stop which makes for a compelling, exciting story. But what really drew me in were the stellar performances, particularly that of Crowe. He is the bad guy you actually might end up rooting for. He goes from charming to deadly and back again all in the blink of an eye. He carries the film on his very able shoulders, but Bale gives him a good run for his money in the acting department.

This is one movie that any lover of westerns or anyone simply longing for a good movie with good acting will not want to miss. The two hours will go by in the blink of an eye and you'll be wishing there was more.
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Shades of gray. The measure of a man and what price he is willing to pay for justice
bjxmas23 September 2007
Being a fan of westerns from a young age, I really wanted to like this movie and I did. I just didn't love it because of a few too many plot holes and inconsistencies. If you are willing to suspend belief and enjoy the ride, it is a very satisfying movie filled with action, suspense and terrific acting showcasing the intricacies of complicated men.

As most westerns ultimately are, this was a movie about the measure of a man. When faced with extraordinary circumstances how far will a man go to do the right thing and what price separates good and evil. It is a story of youth with a riveting performance by a young Logan Lerman as a rancher's son who doubts his father's worth and struggles to come to terms with his expectations of what makes a man great and who he will idolize. Being a fan of the TV series Jack and Bobby, it was great seeing Logan again and enjoying his work. He gives a sensitive, nuanced performance and holds his own against some powerhouse acting from Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.

Russell is the perfect actor to play Ben Wade bringing a depth and humanity to a character who is established early on as a dangerous, ruthless outlaw. There are indications from the start that Ben isn't your standard villain, and Russell does a great job at showing the shadings in this character while maintaining the threatening nature of Ben Wade. There is a hint of gentleness and sensitivity and even though you suspect childhood damage might have produced a man capable of such evil, you never doubt the viciousness this character is capable of.

Christian Bale turns in another intricate portrayal as the rancher, Dan Evans. Slowly the layers and truths of Dan are revealed until he is laid bare, with all his regrets and failings threatening to define him. As a man trying to provide for his family and gain the respect of his older son, he gives a captivating performance as an average man struggling to do what is right while faced with overwhelming obstacles.

The interaction between these two fine actors and how their characters end up on the continuum between good and evil is the focus of the movie. 3:10 to Yuma is an interesting merging between the old-fashioned westerns of long ago and the new psychological metaphors of modern movie-making. There are lots of dead bodies littering up the landscape, but the blood and guts movie style of Peckinpah is thankfully missing and we are left with a character study wrapped up in an action, chase flick.

Peter Fonda has a wonderful role as a grizzled old bounty hunter and even though I knew he was in the movie it took me forever to recognize him. I kept thinking the character reminded me of Richard Widmark, but perhaps there was a touch of Henry in there too. Alan Tudyk has a nice turn as a quirky doctor and Ben Foster is mesmerizing as the big bad sidekick of Ben Wade. Many will think Ben goes overboard on the characterization, but it was difficult to not watch him as the crazy, vicious killer, Charlie Prince. I think he held back just enough to make the character believable, in an intensely crazed, vicious old-west world.

Ultimately the bad guys were more believable to me than the good guys. There were several instances where I wanted to yell at the screen and tell the good guys they were doomed because of their inept actions, but perhaps they just haven't seen as many westerns as I have and didn't realize these bad guys were truly vicious animals and no mercy would be offered.

Towards the end is when the stretches of believability most disturbed me and the movie lost some of its sheen. I just didn't buy all the contrivances they threw at me and for me, that made the ending less than satisfying. My sister, on the other hand, loved the ending and was actually crying, but don't let the crying scare you off. She tends to get overly emotional when she buys into the story and she had no problem suspending belief and taking the ride they offered.

If you love westerns as I do, then you owe it to yourself to support this western at the theater in hopes the box office receipts will encourage more westerns to be produced. If you enjoy great acting and character development and the wider framework of what makes a man a hero and what forces drive a man to despair then this movie provides ample fuel for further discussion.

3:10 to Yuma could have been a great movie if they would have cleaned up some of the plot holes and reined in the ending, but all in all, it was a nice time at the movies and it certainly offered up some lively discussion afterward. The entire cast was stunningly good, the movie was beautifully photographed and the direction kept it moving at a good pace with no lulls or boring moments.

It offers a glance back at the old-time westerns with a few nice improvements. Even if you don't normally appreciate westerns, the acting and action should be enough to make the time spent enjoyable. And if you never appreciated westerns before then maybe it will be enough to make you want to check out some of the greats like High Noon and The Searchers. Westerns have always been a fertile ground for examining the complexities of man, what makes a man great, and the shades of gray that resides in all of us.
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Reminds me of some of the better westerns except with more guts
socrates999 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There's a scene near the end where Christian Bale is clearing the air, so to speak, between himself and Russel Crowe's character, that suddenly made clear to me what the entire film was about. It also dawned on me that Bale is a bit like this generation's Gregory Peck, only better. He seems able to explore other ways of being on screen without losing sight of reality. That's quite a trick, and key in this film, as it's really all about his character, Dan Evans, a struggling ex-soldier with a family and a marginal farm to take care of.

Courage is the central preoccupation of this film, so it's more than welcome to see it in the film's production as well. There's a sensibility for weapons, dirt, wagons, injuries, even clothing of the period, on display here that's more than just admirable. It makes you wonder why old westerns didn't explore these elements more thoroughly, though I suppose it had to do with expense. But in having spared that expense these older flicks also failed to pull off the kind of true to life drama that this movie manages to delve into.

I also enjoyed the interaction between Crowe, Bale, and his teenage son, William. Though the focus is constantly moving, including generous episodes with a wonderfully nuanced badman played by Ben Foster and some quality time with Peter Fonda and Gretchen Mol, most of the story is in what happens between the ex-soldier, his son, and Crowe's gang leader, Ben Wade. Talk about art imitating life, Crowe is pretty much flawless as the intelligent but amoral Wade.

Don't expect a conventional ending. Think about it after you've exited the theater. Aren't we all a mix of good and bad?
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Yuma derailed
p-stepien1 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Never before has the wild west been so gunslinging, deadly and immoral. A small-time one-legged rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is struggling with debt and is on the verge of his land being taken away by the railroad. Desperate to not let his family down decides to take on the task of transporting the notorious Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the 3:10 train to the Yuma prison facility. However his gang of cutthroats and reckless murderers have different plans...

The attempted remake of the 1957 film garnered at reviving the Western genre made quite a splash at the box office in no small part thanks to terrific performances by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Actually the whole cast does a commendable job with selling a script somewhat short of imbecilic. Another character worth mention is Ben Foster playing the dastardly second-in-command Charlie Prince. However even their best attempts can't hide how poorly written this movie is.

What is even more shocking is that the scriptwriters had a perfectly good script to base this movie on. The 1957 version - with all its flaws and low budget - had a tight, compelling and intriguing script which only needed to be brushed up and slightly expanded on. To some extent that was what was done, but somehow Welles and Brandt manage to add a cascade of ideas which derail the Yuma train from any semblance of logic.

Warning signs appear from the word go. Given the movie was sold as being realistic or gritty the Gaitling-machine gun opening sequence, as if taken from the annals of "Wild Wild West", sends out all the wrong signals. Such over-the-top action made me feel like in the middle of a Michael Bay movie set in New Mexico in the XIXth Century. And that is never a good sign. In an apparent attempt to feed considerably more high-budget action than the laid-back original the movie is unable to replicate it's unrelenting feeling of suspense.

I must add that I'm not exactly an aficionado of the old Westerns, so I really expected that given the star potential plus the vastly superior movie standards, this new version would sell the idea the way the original couldn't. The final pay-off is however sacrificed for sheriffs riding horses a day after being shot in the belly, blood-hungry Apache Indians and various non-sensical sequences (full with some horrendous wink-winks to its predecessor) which riddle the road to the train station in Contention. In the end the only scenes that really manage to work in this movie are those which are copy-pasted from the 1957 original version (which wasn't really that good).

The coup d'etat comes with the final resolution. WARNING - MAJOR SPOILERS. Brutally gutting the movie with ridiculous action the movie already has it rough to sell a believable ending. Unfortunately the slight gentlemanship of Glen Ford is substituted for a blood-hungry crazed and otherworldly fast-gunning Russell Crowe. The earlier movie had one gruesome murder throughout, while this revamped version has blood and guts spilling in the dozens. This makes the final resolution hard to swallow, especially given the change of heart occurs thanks to a pathetic sob story told by Dan during strangulation. From then on Crowe's character gingerly runs in leaps and bounds aboard a train set for Yuma straight towards his planned hanging. Just so the public don't feel too gutted by this turn of events Ben Wade lackadaisically mentions he's broken out of Yuma twice before.

What really killed this movie for me was the pay-off, which worked in the original so well. In 1957 Glen Ford's rather silent and enigmatic character decides to help Dan Evans fulfil his mission, due to admiration he starts having towards the unrelenting honest rancher. It is done in such a way, which makes the story spin conceivable, as the help supplied by Ben Wade is lasts just several seconds and can be sold as a spur of the moment initiative. The death of Charlie Prince functions here as unfortunate collateral of this turn of events. In the 2007 blockbuster Russell Crowe actively leads the way to the Yuma train for several arduous minutes. Given he is supposedly the leader of this gang of misfits wouldn't it be easier for him to just tell them to just stop with all this shooting, chasing and killing? On arriving on board the Yuma train Dan Evans is killed by the unknowing Charlie Prince. This ends with Ben Wade singlehandedly gunning down his whole posse of gunslingers. Need I remind you that the only reason those poor dimwits were there in the first place is to save their leader from prison? Absolutely appalling plot resolution.

Given such stupidity not even the best intentions of the cast, make-up department or cinematography can change this movie from being a veritable train-wreck that never made it to Yuma.
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"Ahm gonna keel me sum law-men, Mabel!"
robertblanton7 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Here is an undeniable truth of movie reviewers: When you really want to promote a movie that's not that good, talk about the great performances of the actors. Then you can praise the movie to high heaven, feel you have done your penance, and content yourself with the ingenuity of your expansive insights. This is the case with 3:10 to Yuma.

So, what's wrong with this movie? Well, let's just look at the last 20 or so minutes of the film:

1. Apparently the bartender/hotel clerk in Contention, AZ, whom we've not been introduced to until this point in the movie, is in cahoots with the bad guys because he make a point of surreptitiously and eagerly directing the bad guys to the location of the incarcerated Mr. Crowe. Why does he do this? Who knows. The filmmaker never lets us in on the secret.

2. Apparently the Neanderthal menfolk of Contention, AZ, are a simple-minded lot who, at the thought of earning $200.00 by murdering the the folks holding murderous Russell Crowe in custody, just can't wait to start throwing lead. "Mabel, Whar's mah raffle? Ahm gonna keel me sum law-men an geet myselves $200.00 dollah cash on that thar barrelhead!"

3. Apparently no one in Contention has a problem with watching their unarmed police force viciously gunned down in broad daylight. After this atrocity, folks continue to wander the streets, go in and out of stores, and continue their daily lives as though nothing has happened. Except for, of course, the menfolk who are hiding in wait for a chance to earn that $200.00.

4. Apparently no one bothers to theorize that when you are firing dozens of rounds of ammunition at two men who are as close together as they can be without being Siamese twins you just might hit the guy you're trying to rescue.

5. Apparently, when Russell Crowe's psychotic gunslinging hero-worshiping gang member finally realizes the implications of the above, he figures he better start shootin' them menfolk he'd promised that thar munny to. Of course, none of the surviving menfolk think to start shooting at him.

6. Apparently--well, you get the idea. In other words, this excuse for movie-making is, quite frankly, stupid! In order to take this seriously, you must convince yourself that the type of behavior exhibited by many of the characters in this film is the way people really act. Whether it be the above examples, or Peter Fonda being shot in the stomach, at close range, having the bullet removed, and then immediately riding out into the desert on horseback as though nothing had ever happened to him, much of this film is just plain ludicrous! By the way, I'm no gun expert, but I do know this: If you are shot in the stomach at close range you ain't gonna be going' nowhere and you certainly ain't gonna be trottin' around on a horse!

The bigger problem with this movie is its message, which is this: People who do the right thing because it's the right thing to do are fools. Good people don't thrive. As Christian Bale says, "I've been asking God to help me for three years and he hasn't done it yet." For those who would attempt to live a righteous, honorable life there is nothing but despair and hopelessness. In fact, at the end of the movie the true hero of the piece is the psychopathic, vicious, murdering Russell Crowe character. And, by the way, this film does NOT retain the ending of the original, so if you were hoping it would, forget about that.

If you see this film, you might recognize material from other Westerns. You have an iron clad stagecoach, reminiscent of John Wayne's "War Wagon," quotes from the Bible, reminiscent of Randolph Scott in "Ride the High Country," the psychological bantering between the Crowe and Christian Bale characters, reminiscent of not only "Ride the High Country" but also of "The Tall T", an Elmore Leonard story with Randolph Scott and Richard Boone, and Christian Bales's cursing teenage son, reminiscent of Ron Howard in John Wayne's "The Shootist."

Your better bets: All of the other movies I named above plus the original with Glen Ford and Van Heflin.
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