AKA: Six Gun (Festival Title)
Even though the press release claims that Scott Perry's forgettable western Sixgun was dubiously compared to Lonesome Dove -- obviously by someone who hasn't seen a whole lot of movies – and it was well received at the Austin Film Festival, unfortunately, there's nothing much to recommend the picture for rental let alone purchase.
Sloppily edited and relatively incoherent for the first act, our minds work overtime to meet the movie more than halfway in ascertaining just whom are main characters are and what's being hatched in terms of plot.
And after some forced conversations we discover that following the murder of three cowboys, Tommy (Tommy Hill) an old former gun slinging bounty hunter turned heavy drinking, nearly foreclosed rancher is going to take to the saddle once again with his friends to get their hands on the stolen money the trio of men were murdered over near the beginning.
Of course, whether it's in the Old West or 2010, when a large pile of money is involved, chances are things aren't going to go that easily. And sure enough, guns are fired, after which Tommy and his gang wind up in jail in the cell across from a fast-talking “sportin' gal” and barkeep who'd gotten busted while trying to let a kidnapped teenage girl escape from the sleazy Big Jake who calls the shots around the town.
Facing certain death come daylight, the fast-talking prostitute proves she's just as quick-minded as well, busting the men out of the clink as they all ride off into the dust, knowing full well that although they've temporarily escaped, Big Jake and his monstrous right hand man Bear will be gunning for them at every turn.
And although the movie benefits with some cleverly staged action sequences including the obligatory shootout in the final act that borrows heavily from vintage films in the genre but works effectively under Perry's direction, the rest of Sixgun is a big old mess.
Unsuccessfully the movie attempts to blend in Howard Hawksian humor into the dynamic between the men throughout and seasoning the dialogue with cliches as well as contemporary turns of phrase including a “bring it on,” cringe worthy moment.
And overall screenwriter Luke Hill and director Scott Perry waste the movie's potential by focusing too much on the storyline we're not interested in and too little time on the far more engrossing one involving the young kidnapped girl.
Additionally by only vaguely allowing us to fill in the dots on the back-stories of the main characters and not developing the idea of Tommy's group as old timers out for a second chance, we never feel very invested in the turn of events for the main ensemble nor surprised by the final outcome.
Barely passable as Saturday afternoon TV fare for obsessive devotees of the genre desperate to explore a film that they haven't seen before, while a firmer rewrite and tighter editing may have strengthened Sixgun, sadly it started to misfire almost as soon as it began.
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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.