Finding bad films for October has become increasingly difficult as the weeks go by. Not because bad films are hard to come by, you understand. No, I think the problem lies in the fact that I know nothing about what movies have come out or a damn thing about how critically acclaimed they might be. But, oh well. There’s just one more week in this train wreck of an October theme for Tophat Mondays, so I might as well ride this thing out.
This week’s entry is Gunless, which follows the tale of the Montana Kid in his quest to duel and possibly murder the blacksmith of a small Canadian town, because that’s just how he rolls. I initially picked up the film because the premise seemed so cheesy and over the top it might make a good entry for this week. After watching the film, however, I found myself sitting on the couch, muttering “Dammit, that wasn’t half bad.”
Montana Kid (played by Paul Gross) has definitely seen better days. The first image we see of Montana is him as a dirty and unconscious figure strapped to the back of a horse, as it wanders through the wilderness dragging a stick behind it. Basically, it doesn’t seem like Montana has left his last residence gracefully. The horse finally stops outside a small Canadian town of hunters, having crossed the border and bringing Montana very far from home.
The atmosphere of the town throws Montana off. A seasoned killer in the old west, where men can gun each other to death in the streets in gun duels and not face legal repercussions, Montana is suitably surprised to find that not a single other resident of the town owns a pistol. This becomes a problem when the local blacksmith,
Dr. Beardwelder I mean Jack, accidentally insults Montana. The law of the west requires Montana to call Jack out in a gun duel, but since Jack Beardwomper doesn’t actually own a pistol, Montana can’t just go out and shoot him. Honor, or something like it.
Montana determines he can’t leave until things with Jack have been “set square” so he takes an offer with a widow named Jane Taylor (played by Sienna Guillory) to build a windmill. In exchange, Jane gives Montana an ancient, badly damaged pistol. If Montana fixes the pistol, he can shoot the eff out of Jack!
From there, the shenanigans. Rounding out the cast is Callum Keith Rennie as Ben, a bounty hunter after the $4,000 on Montana’s head, and sundry other minor characters to keep things real.
I had a hard time figuring out what genre this movie was supposed to be. Comedy is pretty heavily present throughout the film, but then at times the movie takes itself way too seriously with over the top dramatic cowboy songs that actually reminded me a bit of the ridiculous legendary songs in those old animated Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit adventures. You know, the ones where the hobbits look more like bug-eyed, hideous monsters? … I couldn’t find a clip to embed here. Just a bunch of nonsense about a LIVE ACTION Lord of the Rings movie, and who the hell would want to see THAT?
Anyway, wow that was a tangent. Lets get this back on track. The film also slips into a romance at times too, so yeah. Like I said. Not sure what its deal is.
The actors all do a good job with their parts. Paul Gross is the perfect straight man in the film and manages to keep the cowboy seriousness up throughout. Even, as the blooper reel during the end of the film shows, during periods of severe horse flatulence. Gross also tries to give depth to the standard cowboy western lead character, though I don’t know if that works so much as feels tacked on. Sienna Guillory also does a good job as a fiercely independent western Canadian woman, but I’m not sure how difficult that really is. The other characters perform their roles well and add some humor to the film, but we generally don’t get much more from them than a short series of repeatable slogans and off the wall hijinks.
The end result is a somewhat predictable film, but not one I’d go out of my way to bash on any given day. Not like, for example, Troll Hunter.
At the end of the day, Gunless is a good movie you can watch if you’re in the mood for something a bit more light-hearted than like, Inception, but is still way better than some of the crap you can watch out there. It’s one of those films that simply exists for its own sake, and aside from the times when the epic hobbit music threatens to turn things into a mopefest, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Seriously. Horse flatulence. That shouldn’t have just been in the blooper reel. The whole film could have been structured around it, in my opinion.