American Outlaws

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:35 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

American Outlaws
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, Ali Larter, Timothy Dalton, Gabriel Macht, Will McCormack, Gregory Smith, Kathy Bates, Nathaniel Arcand, Ronny Cox, Harris Yulin
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Warner Bros.
Kiddie Movie: There’s some violence, but not too bad.
Date Movie: She’ll probably find it stupid.
Gratuitous Sex: Some kissing and talk.
Gratuitous Violence: Some people get shot and beat up.
Action: A few good action scenes.
Laughs: Probably not intentionally, but quite a few.
Memorable Scene: Jesse escaping from the bad guys, or were they the good guys?
Memorable Quote: “She took my dog.”
Directed By: Les Mayfield

Does anybody really know the true story of Jesse James? Does anybody really care? Probably not anymore since the various stories of Jesse James have made him out to be a good guy, a bad guy, kinda funny, kinda dark, and, well, the truth is out there but moviegoers will probably never see it, and you definitely don’t see it in the movie “American Outlaws.” What you do get is an almost comical look at a fake story based around the James-Younger Gang.

For “American Outlaws” you get Jesse James (Colin Farrell) and Cole Younger (Scott Caan). They and their brothers are fighting in the Civil War together, having a grand ole time dodging bullets and “killing the Yankees” which makes their mama proud, but sadly the war comes to an end so it’s time to go home. But back at home times are troubling. The mean, nasty railroad men are trying to buy the farmland but the townsfolk won’t sell. So the mean, nasty railroad men turn up the heat, blowing up some houses and killing Jesse’s mama. Jesse, fresh on the hills of a new romance with Zee (Ali Larter), ditches the chick, rounds up his Civil War fighting buddies, and it’s off to get revenge by hitting the railroad men where it hurts – stealing their money and blowing up their railroad tracks.

Now don’t go to see “American Outlaws” expecting a great western because, well, it ain’t. This is a movie which actually ends up more like a comedy because the things that happen are so stupid, although I don’t think that’s what the movie-makers had in mind. Some cases in point: The James-Younger Gang is a group of nice robbers. If you don’t shoot at them, well, they won’t shoot you – they just want your money. And if you do shoot at them and there are dozens of you, you are all bad shots while Jesse and Cole could probably shoot a man dead from two miles away in a heavy crosswind if need be. Also you can expect the obligatory “guy getting tossed out of the saloon window ending up in a street fight in the rain and mud” scene.

And then, of course, you know Jesse is going to get caught, and then, of course, you know he’s going to get loose, and then, of course, you know it will be in some fun, action-scene kind of way. Now these might seem like bad things, but they are the kind of things that really save “American Outlaws” because it makes you not take the movie so seriously, makes you not really care if the story is true, but if you just sit back, relax, and let the cheesy things make you chuckle you will enjoy the movie a little bit more.

In the end I’ll give “American Outlaws” 2 ½ stars out of 5. The opening scene of Jesse distracting the army while being shot at takes the reality out of the movie right away and lets you know not to take the movie seriously. Let the dorky jokes happen, let the cheesy dialogue cause you to chuckle and groan, and don’t try to understand why Jesse’s gun’s don’t get ruined when his house burns down. Just let things happen.
That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!