Written by Matt Mungle
Title: The Lone Ranger
There is a lot to be said for the new adventure-action-western, The Lone Ranger. Granted it may not be what you want to hear if you are a diehard fan of both westerns and the classic character. The over the top action, tongue and cheek humor, and a very uncharacteristic Tonto make this a modern film that is sure to please moviegoers even if it doesn't sit well in the saddle with others.
Set early in the settling of the old west, the story of how John Reid (Armie Hammer) became the masked man of justice we know as The Lone Ranger is told by his trusted and odd sidekick Tonto (Johnny Depp). The two men, Reid an educated lawyer and Tonto a peculiar scout, are thrown together as they try and hunt down a ruthless fugitive who seems to be at the center of something even more unlawful. They are caught in the middle of a wealthy railroad tycoon (Tom Wilkinson) and disgruntled Native Americans and have to stand alone in order to see justice served.
It is no surprise that if you have a film from the Disney Studio, directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), with Depp as an oddball character; Tonto is going to somewhat resemble Jack Sparrow. Granted he never says, "what happened to all the rum" but his quirky mannerisms and facial expressions are right out of the Sparrow play book. That is ok though, because it does add lots of humor to the movie, and Depp has it down pat. The Tonto we know from the TV series is way too serious and stoic for today's audiences. This route works much better.
The Lone Ranger has plenty of action and western antics. Lots of horse riding, gun fights, and prairie visuals. Yet it never feels like a western. The fast edits, colorful dialogue, and zany humor spice it up enough to make it simply a fun adventure. Armie Hammer is the perfect Reid/Ranger with his pure morals and love for justice. His naive demeanor and innocent stare are reminiscent of a young Brendon Frasier. He is the perfect guy for the role and a solid screen partner for the outlandish Depp.
The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material. It is safe for those family members who love the Pirates films and flock to the big screen for all the blockbusters. The language is super clean and the only suggestive material comes in the form of a brothel owner (Helena Bonham Carter) and a few saloon girls. The gun play is prominent and the bad guy (played fantastically by William Fichtner) is pretty menacing. If you are concerned about that sort of thing, then be aware that it is a big part of the action. Other than that it is a surprisingly fun and entertaining film that is a perfect summer addition to the theater screens. One final word of advice; at 2 hours 29 minutes in length you had better make a restroom stop before grabbing your seat.