Appaloosa Review

Thank you for checking out our Appaloosa review.

The General Idea

Synopsis From IMDB: When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch arrive in Appaloosa, they find a town suffering at the hands of a rancher named Randall Bragg that means to own everything in it, and who has already left the city Marshall and one of his deputies dead. Cole and Hitch are used to cleaning up after scavengers, but this one raises the stakes by playing not by the rules, but with emotion. Cole and Hitch are hired to save the town from Bragg, but a young attractive widow arrives to complicate matters.

The Good

Ed Harris (Virgil Cole), Vitgo Morgensen (Everett Hitch) and Jeremy Irons (Randall Bragg) all had characters that were quality. Bragg is a well educated lawless man, Everett is a gunman who doesn’t care much for law, but simply uses his status as deputy as a legal means to ply his trade. (Virgil Cole is a man who brings his own commandments with him and imposes the cleansing wrath of law and order from one town to the next.

Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch have a very good Master/Apprenticeship relationship that is touched on some, but never enough. The scenes where these two men were talking alone were some of the best moments of this film. I think it would have been wise for them to wallow in this relationship more than they did.
There was a courtroom scene that was probably my favorite in the film. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the judge delivers a great line that involves the phrase “while the bees are in the butter”. I love me a catchy adage.

The Bad

The score for this film was horrible. It was like an easy listening jazz/country hybrid that was very out of place and extremely off-putting.

I am not opposed to spouses and lovers being in westerns. But when the film continually spends time dealing with relationship problems and the hero’s desire to work them out - all of a sudden we have something that feels like a bad soap opera. I will admit, the first time Virgil Cole bitches about getting hell for not being home enough - I thought it was funny; I also thought that it would be the last scene of its kind.

Allison French (Renée Zellweger) and her troubled relationships became far too central to the story and as a result everything cool about this western was watered down. That may have been the point of the story - but it sucked.

This film skips along without building tension. Problems seem to be solved a scene or three after the problem is introduced (for the good guys and the bad) and we never get a chance to feel the tension or heaviness of the situation. A showdown should have you at the edge of your seat; this didn’t happened in Appaloosa, because the set up never simmered.


This was a very disappointing Western. Sadly, if the same characters were in a different film, I think we could’ve had something that was enjoyable. Out of 10, I would give Appaloosa an 4.

11 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Kristina

    Renee Zellweger has become a movie killer lately. If she is in it, I don’t wanna see it. And WTF has happened to her face since Jerry Maguire? Her face looks like my leather jacket now.

  2. 790

    From the trailers it looked like a bad episode of Deadwood.
    Thanks for the heads up I won’t be renting this ether.


    lol every episode of deadwood is a bad episode

    and doug your reviews fucking rule…i still have a sweet taste in my mouth from the meet the spartans one that i read 40 times so..please..

    watch extreme movie this december so you can give us another hate filled review

    i think its a spoff hence the name. and remember you promised to give us the DVD disaster movie review lol


  4. Robert Forest

    This is dissappointing news. I love Ed Harris and Vigo Mortensen. I was really looking forward to seeing them together on the silver screen once again. (since A History of Violence). Guess I’ll skip it. You seem to know what you like, and you seem to like a lot of the things that I like. I trust your opinion. I don’t want my view of these two immortals to be dampenned by a bad movie.

  5. chris (the real one)

    ^ i agree….thats a shame, when i say the trailer it looked amazing imo….still might give it a shot, havent seen a good western since 310 to yuma

  6. Mkfreak2

    It’s always seemed like both John and Doug take length of movies and amount of romance way too negatively in films. I mean, it just seems like a broken record when reading most reviews on this site. It’s almost always “It was too slow” or “It shouldn’t have focused on theromance so much.”

    Maybe reading this site so long has gotten to me. I guess I just expect more articulate reviews. I duno. I like you guys and all, I think you generally have great taste. But occasionally both your video reviews and written reviews come off as very repetetive and shallow.

  7. Josh Brunsting

    I can see what you mean, but if it’s a problem they have with the film, then they should at least state their opinion on it. If it’s a problem in a lot of movies, than that’s their opinion.

    I’m really surprised that this film has garnered mixed reviews from most people. I thought the trailers looked great, and like others have said, seeing Harris and Mortensen on the screen again has me pretty hyped. Zellwegger isn’t bad, when the role is right, like say Leatherheads, and seeing that Harris is directing, I thought this one would be really interesting to check out. But thanks for the heads up Doug! I’ll probably rent it, just for the fact I love Westerns…

  8. doug nagy

    @ MK Freak

    You may certainly critique my review; but have you seen the film?

  9. Doug Douglas

    Doug, I watched this film Friday night. I have to say, this was my number one film on my list of films I was excited about this fall — even over Bond.

    I agree with everything you said in your review, you were spot on.

    The best part of Friday night was actually before the movie: the show time before the time I had a ticket for wasn’t available, and I saw why. Before we were allowed in for seating Ed Harris came out, talking to people and signing autographs. It was great to see one of my favorite American actors in the flesh — and in cowboy boots, on top of that. That said, I’m glad I didn’t have a ticket for that screening, ’cause I wouldn’t have had any questions for him. Everything you said in your review was exactly right. This movie would’ve been at least 15% better if it weren’t for that horrible score, which sounded like a Russian orchestra’s idea of a Copeland score. Fucking terrible. The movie was a huge disappointment.

  10. 790

    Deadwood Movie. !!!!!!!!!

    Come on !!!!

  11. William

    I too was disappointed to read this bad review. I think Ed Harris and Vigo Mortensen are two of the best actors around, and I was looking forward to seeing this. I was hoping for a hard, gritty, realistic western, along the lines of Unforgiven (the best western film of all time, in my opinion). What a shame it is if they ruined it with an unnecessary romantic plot line and a lousy score. Maybe they should have hired Jonny Greenwood to write the music…

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