Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jay's Review: Angel and the Badman (2009)

...one VERY overdue review that finally got turned into dvdsnapshot.com. Have you been there lately? The fact that they publish me is only one of the reasons they're such a great site. Check 'em out!



This John Wayne remake tells the story of a notorious gunfighter, Quirt Evans (Lou Diamond Phillips), who is wounded and seeks shelter with a Quaker family. Attracted to the family's beautiful, loving, and widowed daughter Temperance (Deborah Kara Unger), the hard-bitten gunfighter is transformed from a man with a history of violence into a man of peace. Unfortunately, the leader of the outlaws, Laredo (Luke Perry), won't let his past die.


I've never seen the original version of Angel and the Badman, so I was able to come to this film with fresh eyes. In fact, my experience with John Wayne films and Westerns in general is pretty minimal, so when I do watch them they're always pretty fresh to me.

Our wounded "Bad Man," Quirt, suffering from a gunshot wound, winds up at the house of a Quaker family and nursed by Temperance, begins to find inner peace. (The fact that they seem to have pretty good sexual chemistry doesn't hurt any, either.) While he fights it and his life of crime slowly catches up to him, it's pretty obvious how things will turn out in the end.

The casting here is decent. Lou Diamond Phillips and Deborah Kara Unger are two very talented actors who never seem to get the high profile work that often. They star in the roles of a gunslinger and the daughter of a Quaker played by Wayne and Jane Russell in the original movie. Unger is especially good here. She conveys tension and fear as a woman sure from the beginning this "Bad Man" is the right one for her. Known for her dangerous sex-bombs and damaged characters in films like Crash and Whispers in the Dark, her simple Quaker was something of a surprise. Phillips is mostly hard when he needs to be and convincing as he opens up, but some of his lines sure die on the vine though.

The bad guy (as opposed to the "Bad Man") is played by Luke Perry. While serviceable enough, he still seems less hard and grizzled than Dylan McKay playing dress-up. He fits in with the ridiculously tidy Western settings and well-pressed "Working girls." There's moments of humor in with the occasional shoot-out and slow-burn romantic plot. I've read it hews pretty closely to the original version of the film and I wouldn't be a bit surprised. On the whole, Angel and the Badman is as old-fashioned and patient as courting. That's not a bad thing.


This was a screener copy. The disc should have English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo with Spanish subtitles. It's presented in Widescreen format.

Kind, clean, and classy - though not a classic - this remake of Angel and the Badman is just as family-friendly as one would expect from a Hallmark Channel production. It's not spicy, but it sticks to good-old fashioned western tropes. A throwback or one for the parents and grandparents, it's a very pleasant watch for a gray Fall afternoon.


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