So why “The Lone Ranger” looks like a “Pirates of the Caribbean” SEQUEL gone campy western you ask? Maybe, just maybe, it has to do with having Gore Verbinski (helmed the first 3 POTC flicks) riding in the saddle alongside producer Jerry Bruckheimer (POTC alum), in this dry adaptation of the infamous fictional character. Oh, and Johnny Depp is basically enacting an Indian version of Captain Jack Sparrow.
As for why they loosely chose a delivery style similar to “The Princess Bride”…well, that’s a mystery; other than someone thought it would be cool to put Depp in an old-man saggy bodysuit as he tells the tale to a young impressionable boy.
Mainly an origin story, at 149 minutes, this spends a lot of time spinning its carriage wheels. It showcases how Tonto (Johnny Depp), a rogue Comanche Indian who rocks a dead crow on his head, crosses paths with by-the-book attorney, John Reid (Armie Hammer). Having been severely stung by a heartless outlaw, Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), the two are brought together by chance, and a white spirit horse. Together, they roam desert lands tracking Cavendish and his gang during a time when the highly lauded transcontinental railroad is being constructed out west under the guise of respected businessman, Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson). Yee-haw mother f’ers!
Pretty much replace ships and swords with locomotives and six-shooters in this plodding bloated journey. While Depp and Hammer have chemistry, and Depp maintains his composure and doesn’t overshadow the hustling Hammer, there are only a few pockets of worthwhile entertaining banter and action involving those two. Engaging charisma steps-in only when Fichtner is onscreen playing the repulsive, yet cool, baddie. Other than that, the only other element to admire is how cinematographer Bojan Bazelli provided a hearty scope to view the novel set-designs and acrobatic action ranging from a horse jumping across rooftops to trains jousting on multiple tracks. But by the halfway point, all you’ll be thinking is they should have titled this…wait for it…The Long-ass Ranger.
Seriously, interest levels are lost and there is nothing to bring you back other than the expectations of an elaborate grand finale shootout. And it’s there; but by today’s standards, it’s sadly nothing out of the ordinary, especially if you are a big-budget movie junkie.
This is technically sound, save for a continuity error here-and-there, but man…this sucker is way too long and not nearly as exciting as say 1998’s “The Mask of Zorro.” But at least it’s not as moronic as “Wild Wild West!”