Badland (2019) Poster

(I) (2019)

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Because dialogue and delivery matters
Troubladore30 March 2020
Have you ever seen someone ride their bicycle straight into a wall for no apparent reason? That's this movie, but in slow motion. You feel awkward watching it happen, you wonder why you're still watching as it happens, and you feel compelled to fast forward through the experience just to confirm, "Yup, they crashed alright."

The death of this movie is the dialogue. The premise was fine, the setting was fine, the actors seemed like they were capable of so, so much more. I literally cannot comprehend how someone can film actors delivering such awful dialogue in the most wooden, uninspired, and awkward ways. I kept watching just because I couldn't believe someone would go to the trouble to create a whole movie like this. Didn't anyone think, "You know, this might play better if we spoke like human beings?" Actors were going in and out of period, the language almost never fit the people or the situation, everything was drawn out without drama.

I actually wondered, at one point, if the whole screenplay had been written by a machine learning algorithm.

Ugh. Skip this movie, forever. I watched it for you, and you didn't enjoy it.
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More of a "WORSTern" than a western
Wizard-830 March 2020
As you may know, new westerns in this day and age are kind of hard to find, and most of them aren't very good. "Badland" is a western that unfortunately falls into the bad movie category, even for someone like me who really loves the western genre. I knew this was going to be a bad movie when I saw that the Cinedigm company was the distributor, and shortly afterwards when the first scene started to unfold, I instantly saw how incredibly cheap and tacky the production design looked like. But that was small potatoes compared to the real problem with the movie, which was how utterly slow and boring it played out. There's no grit, no energy, and no clear love of the genre. Instead, we just get a collection of various western clichés and dialogue executed in the flattest way possible. The presence of the charismatic Bruce Dern managed to lift my rating to 2 stars out of 10 instead of just one star, but only barely. Not recommended even as a movie to play in the background while you concentrate more on another activity in your home.
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Great Cast!
ghdennis15 April 2020
With so many experienced actors in this film, one would have thought they would tell Justin to "StFU!" and just directed their own scenes. But that ain't what happened in this waste of cellulose. The first black senator was Hiram Revels who took his seat in 1870. So this story had to have taken place after then. Lee could have given a 1866 Winchester to Sorvino and she wouldn't have looked so awkward handling a rifle. Nice lookin horses though and Mira Sorvino definitely put the weight on in all the right places.
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B rated. But still enjoyable
grlym-4684911 December 2019
It is a bit slow. Very predictable, but nice to watch nonetheless. I compare it to a hallmark movie
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Good sleep aid!
mxsuba2631 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Well buffed out Pinkerton Detective/Cowboy - Mathias Beacher - who says little, wears all black and hunts down fugitive Confederate war criminals with his two Colt Peacemakers and Spencer carbine with the intent of hanging each one. His two bosses are both former slaves. First he offs fugitive rebel Trace Adkins and all his bros after a bizarre conversation in his barn. Then he tracks down one Confederate Capt Cooke on his ranch in the desert - played by an ancient looking Bruce Dern who is only shown in a white nightgown in every scene. Not a good look Bruce. Given that Bruce is already dying he spares him and at the same time falls for his sexy middle aged daughter - Mira Sorvino, looking pretty cute in her cow girl duds. She does not seem too bothered that Mathias came to kill her dad and falls for the guy. The bathtub scene is a bit much where Mira walks in on Mathias cleaning up his body builder body. But I guess she wanted to check out the merchandise before buying so to speak. Finally he tracks down a war criminal turned corrupt sheriff running the quaint little town of Knife Edge, a town filled with old geezer cowboys and surprisingly attractive prostitutes. The Sheriff even shoots one of the hookers over a $12 debt she owed him. What was that about? While Mathias manages to dispatch the sheriff and all his posse in a classic gun fight in the middle of the street, he ends up gut shot - basically a fatal wound. But that does not stop him from riding all the way back to Mira on her ranch. No real ending to the film to see what happened to the happy couple.

A good combination of a dumb story, bad acting, and unbelievable characters. And what is with Mathias's unusual affection for his horse. Not going there.
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If the Hallmark channel asked a 12 yr old to write a western
badappl29 March 2020
Yikes pard. The acting is more brutally wooden than Neegan's baseball bat.

The "story" is basically every cliché you can think up. Sadly it has a few really talented actors you probably like, and they are stuck in this tumbleweed of a movie.

Since it blows anyway, just let it blow away.
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muchocabrio12 January 2020
I don't understand the poor reviews. Not the best western of all time but very enjoyable.
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It's actually an ok tv-movie.
davidsmejladress24 November 2019
I was expecting a sucky western movie and it started like one. But the acting was quite ok to be honest so I kept watching. The music score seems out of place and exaggerated throughout the movie. The pace is slow but it didn't bother me as I thought it would. The movie is more lika a tv-movie with the budget it comes with. Mira Sorvinos face job is noticeable and some other things. I liked it enough to watch it to the end. It is what it is and doesn't try to be something else.
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A Contemporary Western - Tries To Hard - Many Flaws In Storyline
dwp194826 March 2020
03/25/2020 - About a 5-6 star less than stellar western movie who's writer tries to hard to be philosophical and the viewers most intelligent teacher. The movie was OK, but future viewers will have to continually overlook the storyline flaws. This movie will never become a classic western and hopefully prospective viewers will watch it for what it is, a less than memorable cowboy movie. Bon Appetit'
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Be still, young man
ferguson-61 November 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. Westerns are always a risky proposition for a filmmaker, but some are drawn to the genre and seem to thrive on the intricacies that fans have come to expect. Justin Lee is one such filmmaker. He wrote and directed this film and follows the familiar tropes: a quiet, proud protagonist; the strong, lonely woman; the corrupt gunslinger - maybe wearing a badge, maybe not; and of course, the battle of good versus evil.

Kevin Makely stars as Matthias Breecher, a Civil War veteran and now Pinkerton detective carrying out the orders of Senator Benjamin Burke (Tony Todd, CANDY MAN, 1992). Senator Burke has pledged to track down war criminals and hold them accountable by administering justice. Breecher is the Senator's hired hand who travels from town to town, serving warrants and dealing with those who refuse to abide

Mr. Lee's film is divided into four chapters. Chapter 1, "The General", finds Breecher face-to-face with tough-talking General Corbin Dandridge (Trace Adkins). It's here where Breecher first flashes his impressive gun skills, and it's soon after where he crosses paths with Harlow (recent honorary Oscar recipient Wes Studi), a competitor in the "bounty-hunter" game. Chapter 2, "The Cooke's" has Breecher tracking down Reginald Cooke (played for all it's worth by a finger-wagging Bruce Dern), a sickly old man dying slowly from pneumonia and living with his daughter Sarah (Oscar winner Mira Sorvino). Local bad guy Fred Quaid (James Russo) is trying to seize the Cooke's land (apparently this is the possessive apostrophe in the chapter title). During this segment we get a nasty fist fight, an ugly shootout, and Breecher falling for Sarah and actually shushing his horse. Chapter 3, "The Sheriff", brings us to the terrifically named town of "Knife's Edge" where equally terrifically named evil guy Huxley Wainwright (Jeff Fahey) wears a badge and rules the town with a reign of terror, and with Old West waterboarding. There is even a double-tap grave side shootout. It's an old mining town and the citizens live in fear - especially the good-hearted barkeep Alice (Amanda Wyss). The segment ends with a 'high noon' duel in the dusty street.

Chapter 4, "Breecher", acts as a finale for our hero, a man we are told was "born to violence." His dreams of owning land may have faded, and soul-searching has him reckoning with the man he's become. Mr. Makely reminds of actor Anson Mount in his ability to hold a scene, and we can't help but think that in his younger years, Mr. Fahey could have easily played the Breecher role. Despite the out-of-place linguistic stylings, director Lee proves the lessons of the old west never get old, and it leaves us with the message ... 'Be still, young man."
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Very watchable
mrsc-017309 June 2020
Great cast and story. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Other low ratings should not stop you from watching.
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Not Bad
dfohner9 May 2020
Although I watch movies for entertainment and not snob appeal. I enjoyed the context of a dedicated detective trying to complete his mission of justice with some compassion. It wasn't as bad as most of the reviews indicate but was an exciting entertaining western.
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So bad I was inspired to write my first review
cainphysics25 April 2020
I didn't have high expectations. It's pretty clear from the trailer that Badland is going to deliver a fairly run-of-the-mill western tough-guy movie that won't require much of the viewer. And it certainly does that. The fact that it manages to disappoint even with these expectations is fairly remarkable.

Take every cliche from every western ever, string them together with flat, slow dialog, remove all traces of depth and character development, and you have Badland.

It really felt like a high-budget film-school project done by a student who had a good eye for shooting scenes, but no idea how to tell a compelling story.

Giving spoilers would be impossible because if you've watched even a handful of westerns, you're already familiar with every scene and plot point in this film. It's so predictable, that you find yourself (quite accurately) saying things like: "...and closeup on the gunfighter's steely eyes...", "...screeching hawk sound effect in 3,2,1...", "...and cue Wes Studi..."

There's certainly no shortage of formulaic westerns, and sometimes they're like the comfort food you need right now. But in order for them to be palatable they have to have something to sink your teeth into: character development, compelling plot, decent action - the list goes on. Sadly Badland has none of these redeeming qualities and leaves you wanting your two hours back.
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Slow-paced, Quality Acting
ms_jade_li31 December 2019
As I was watching, I thought oh no, this is a "bad-B" movie. I thought this because I'd never seen the main actor, Kevin Makely, before, the type of film seemed "cheap," and the plot was moving very VERY slowly. Then I started thinking this isn't a piece of inferior gunk, it's just different, probably best categorized as an independent film. Once I shifted perspective and took it for what it was, I began to appreciate the quality. The cast does have familiar faces in it (Bruce Dern, Mira Sorvino, Wes Studi, Jeff Fahey.) What it does do is slow the pacing down enough to give the actors time enough to show their stuff.

Now, on to the plot. The main character is a Pinkerton agent, Detective Matthias Breecher, who has been hired by a Senator to hunt down 3 Confederate war criminals from the Civil War. He is a man of great integrity and is committed to the task. The plot revolves around the search for the 3 and his adventures along the way.
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Spoiler alert!!! IT SUCKED!
horhay-4275930 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
That was rough! You would enjoy watching someone play Red Dead 2 more then watching this.
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Steals From the Classics and the Fads
northbonmot30 March 2020
I echo the many reviews theorizing that any strong reviews are manufactured or bought. It stretches the bounds of credulity that someone could see any value in this plodding, uninspired, unoriginal (on every level), pretentious piece of pablum. This film is disrespectful to the cast, the genre and to filmmaking in general.

"Badland" felt like somebody sat down with a yellow legal pad and listed every cliche in the Western genre, prioritized them based on frequency of use, then went to work on a script that was designed to check each and every one of them off the list. The only one they left off was the "man with no name" trope, but they still managed to elicit a cornball connection by having Breecher be a character echo with Jack Reacher, the highly skilled man with the mysterious past traveling from town to town righting wrongs for the oppressed. Alas, the process of outlining the script must have expended 99% of the script budget because there wasn't enough left to develop an interesting story.

The dialog seemed to be inspired by the attention garnered by the charming and quirky cadence and vocabulary heard in "True Grit" (2010). It didn't work in "Badland" because the writer didn't give the characters anything meaningful to say and didn't give the audience any reason to care what they said. If the goal was to make this look like an enactment of one of those old 19th century dime novels (which is loudly hinted at during the final showdown), they just didn't pull it off. This attempt was perhaps lifted from the similar device employed in Eastwood's "Unforgiven" which incorporated the sense of a pulp novel without buying into it too strongly.

The cinematography was flat and rudimentary. It was 95% medium shots except for the obligatory extreme close-ups leading to the final shoot-out. The purpose of cinematography is to frame the scene in a way that elicits an emotion or provides insight into what a character is feeling or the state of their circumstances. In this case, I think the camera crew knew how to set up a camera, turn it on and adjust for the lighting, but that's about it. They must have skipped the class that covered composition.

The cast was loaded with potential. Every one of them has a proven capacity to put out a memorable performance. I don't understand how a cast like this thinks it's a good idea to work with a writer/director like Justin Lee who has a pretty solid history of churning out poorly crafted films. I also weep in anguish for the untold number of up-and-coming directors and writers with talent, artistry and devotion to craft that can't break into feature films while this guy gets to put out up to four features in a single year. How does this guy get a budget? He must work cheap. Unfortunately, his films show it.
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FilmMcCool2 December 2019
Rubbish. I love westerns and rewatch the good ones again and again. I love the old ones especially, like The Searchers or Rio Bravo or How the West was Won etc. Most westerns with Gary Cooper or Henry Fonda or John Wayne or Randolph Scott and of course Clint. I am sure I am missing some however this movie does not come close to the Westerns these guys made. As for the top ratings, as someone said, Paid For reviews, must be.
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The Western genre (in 2019), is still fit and going strong.
RatedVforVinny29 November 2019
This one has gained some rather unkind and unfair reviews. I'm a western fanatic and am also very critical when reviewing movies. I really enjoyed this film and with superstars like Wes Studi and Bruce Dern what could possibly go that wrong? The movie is skillfully divided up into 4 chapters and each one builds and gets stronger. I really liked the cast and with a sharp script (and with exciting gun play) I was pretty much rooted to the screen. Ignore the negativity the haters and give it a go.
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No Review Need
rowpotdroid3 December 2019
No Review Need to understand that this movie sucks. You couldn't possible write anything that would spoil this movie they already managed that on there own.
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Don't believe super low reviews. Wasn't that bad.
gonzodave-7929627 April 2020
After reading all of the pompous low reviews I had to review. OK, to start off with, Tombstone, it is NOT. But neither did it have the budget for the actors, good writing, time, etc. But if you can stomach the melodrama, if you can get past the "supposed" proper English of the late 1800s, and get past the cliches (but let's face it, there's hardly anything truly original nowadays), if you can get past these, then it's actually not too bad of a movie. Yes, it's a cookie cutter western, but no, it's not a horrible one either. But if you're into flying hero's, exploding heads and zombies, please stay away from this movie and keep your comments to yourself.
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Slow and sweet till chapter three.. then formulaic.
sparecrow-8778525 April 2020
Although this movie has three western heavies in Jeff Fahey, Bruce Dern and Amanda Wyss. It seems that the movie's heart fell out of its chest after the beginning of chapter three. Too much reliance on a predictable western routine and cliche scenes makes the second half of this movie fall apart. The first half had actual heart and interest, but then it feels like a different movie and forced one at that after the third chapter.
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Best viewed with sound off
wpirotte29 March 2020
Okay, the music is certainly okay, but the dialog is so bad, and the plodding plot so uninteresting, that the viewer might likely imagine a better movie. One could also imagine the various actors, some of them very fine actors, retiring to their trailer each day and posting messages on social media. Some would claim to be on vacation, or murdering a relative, or in the hospital...anything but the truth that they were working on this astoundingly amateur production. This movie is reminiscent of foreign films made 40 plus years ago, and even more recent films coming out of, say, Brazil. Typically, the production values are excellent, the plot is bad, the acting / directing is terrible, and the dialog is horrendous. Or is it horrific? I wonder, sometimes, if there is not a malevolent film school teacher, bitter from his own lack of success, who tells his students: "Anyone can write dialog appropriate to a given plot. You need to reach beyond this limitation!"
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Quite the melodramatic drivel
Lokiloke31 March 2020
Omg! We watched this slow talking, over-intense music, bad acted movie until the end but oh man, it was a stinker. We were laughing throughout at the melodramatic drivel. Zzzzzz..
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Fistful of dollars
fmwongmd29 March 2020
Written and portrayed in the Clint Eastwood style spaghetti western with tongue in cheek, epic like presentation. Kevin Mameluke and Mia Sorvinodo a good job of acting.
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Morality Play
edgardovilas18 April 2020
When I enjoy a movie, I like to read what the haters say about it. No movie is worth a one, two or three unless it is really bad. So don't go by the haters. They say anything just to trash a movie. They act a bit like our president sometimes. The movie does work in the area of cliche, but it also goes to places that are different enough for me to make it enjoyable. The main character is consistent throughout, so much so, that he might lose out on some peace in his life. Plenty of action and credible characters with simple scenic vistas. Well done for a budget Western.
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