The cowboy genre has been explored a good bit recently, from the good (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 3:10 to Yuma, Broken Trail) to the bad (Shoot First and Pray You Live) to the just plain ugly. If you are wondering why I didn’t put an example in for ugly, its because this movie fits in that category. As a book, Appaloosa was good, but when Ed Harris decided to write, direct and star in the adaptation, he mustn’t have realized that the film version of the book could never be too good. The book was good mainly because it wasn’t strung out on detail, and it was well written. Ed Harris made it with too much trouble being put on the mind. It was as if he looked at the book and said “well, screw that, let’s do this.”

Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are two traveling “problem-solvers,” they go into towns and run out or kill whatever is causing fear in the hearts of normal Americans. They confront the rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) who is causing the problems, and have a widow (Renee Zellweger) come between them.

Best Aspects: Acting was very good. The plot was good, but it was already made. The writing was lacking and the direction was mediocre at best.

Bottom Line: C. Okay movie, but could have been much better in the right hands (James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) or Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) or, hell, even Walter Hill (The Warriors, Broken Trail, Wild Bill, 48 Hrs.)