Cowboys & Aliens is a mashup of a mediocre Western and a mediocre science fiction story. The resulting film is far better than the sum of its two seemingly disparate parts. Although a little overlong, the production will find favor not only with lovers of its root genres but with those just looking for a not-too-demanding good time. Although the title sounds jokey, that's where the comedic element ends. Director Jon Favreau keeps the tone light but, aside from the occasional low-key gag or one-liner, the humor is never allowed to upstage the more serious elements.
Marketing for Cowboys & Aliens may trumpet the pairing of Indiana Jones and James Bond (much as it did when Sean Connery joined Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), but neither lead actor is playing his character here the way he might in a franchise film. Ford, looking grizzled with his unshaven stubble, is not apt to remind anyone of Indy or Han Solo, especially once we learn that his alter-ego, Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, isn't the nicest of men. Meanwhile, Daniel Craig may go through the entire film without cracking a smile. His Jake Lonergan is not guilty of everything of which he has been accused, but he is an outlaw and he's out for revenge. Come to think of it, maybe he's not that different from Quantum of Solace's 007.
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