Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By Da­mon Smith

BASED on the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosen­berg, Cow­boys & Aliens is a rootin’ tootin’ ac­tion ad­ven­ture that melds the west­ern and science fic­tion gen­res with a blitzkrieg of dig­i­tal ef­fects. It’s a cu­ri­ous jux­ta­po­si­tion – pis­tols and laser guns – and cer­tain el­e­ments of Jon Favreau’s en­ter­tain­ing film don’t gel. While Har­ri­son Ford pos­sesses the weari­ness of a man who could con­ceiv­ably have kicked up his spurs in 1870s New Mex­ico, co-star Daniel Craig swag­gers around in fig­ure-hug­ging leather chaps and a shirt un­but­toned to the navel like James Bond at a fancy dress party. We’re not re­motely sur­prised that he opens the film by dis­abling three ban­dits on horse­back. Nor do we bat an eye­lid when his char­ac­ter out-can­ters an alien space­ship along a canyon ridge and leaps from the turbo-charged nag onto the oth­er­worldly craft. The in­vaders do not stand a chance. Pre­pos­ter­ous­ness aside, Cow­boys & Aliens gal­lops along at a fair lick and di­rec­tor Favreau (Iron Man) or­ches­trates the set pieces with aplomb, keep­ing our adren­a­line pump­ing as the 19th cen­tury heroes use their prim­i­tive weapons against hordes of slaver­ing preda­tors. Jake Lon­er­gan (Craig) wakes in the desert with a gun­shot wound, a large metal bracelet on his wrist and no mem­ory of who he is or how he came to be in the dirt. He struts into town and is un­masked as a killer with a size­able bounty on his head. Ar­rested by the sher­iff and bound for prison along­side Percy Do­larhyde (Paul Dano), Jake makes his es­cape from the prison coach dur­ing a dev­as­tat­ing at­tack by the aliens. Percy is ab­ducted and the boy’s pow­er­ful fa­ther, Woodrow (Ford), vows to res­cue his son and he press­gangs Jake into ac­com­pa­ny­ing his posse on the per­ilous mis­sion. Beau­ti­ful cow­girl Ella Swen­son (Olivia Wilde), pub­li­can Doc (Sam Rock­well) and a fa­ther­less boy called Em­mett (Noah Tay­lor) join the hunt for the aliens. Cow­boys & Aliens dodges the bul­let of the 3D for­mat and con­cen­trates on old-fash­ioned ac­tion with 21st cen­tury vis­ual trick­ery. Craig ex­udes the same amount of charisma as the wooden scenery but he is a brood­ing phys­i­cal pres­ence. Ford pro­vides fleet­ing comic re­lief and also pock­ets the

GLAM­OUR : Olivia Wilde as cow­girl Ella Swen­son.

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