Hot buttered croissants.
Today’s review is of The Old Way, a “Fuck You It’s January” release and another in my continuing list of catching up on 2023 films before I fall too far behind. Directed by Brett Donowho, a man who you might recognize if you read about his dog ass Bruce Willis movie from 2018 Acts of Violence, one of Willis’ many movies to hold a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I doubt any of my readers have seen many of his films.
The Old Way stars Nicolas Cage as Colton Briggs, a name that tells you exactly what kind of film you’re getting into. Colton Briggs used to be a bounty hunter, a man who killed bad men for money and cared about little more than where his next paycheck was coming from. He murders a bad guy in front of his son and leaves the son alive, and we all know in western movies or any film for that matter, that you never leave loose ends. I’m not saying Nicolas Cage should have murdered a child, but he should have at least put two bullets in the kid’s noggin for his own future safety. Lee Van Cleef would have done it.
Shockingly, and in a twist that’s never happened in western cinema, the kid grows up to take revenge by killing Briggs’ wife. Colton takes his daughter and the two go on a hunt for revenge, because violence only begets more violence in the old west. And new west. Also there’s a whole subplot about how Colton’s daughter may have inherited his psychopathy. All the while the two are hamstrung by the Marshall (Nick Searcy) and his crew who are also after McAllister, and represent a change in the country. One where states have laws and vigilantes can’t just dole out justice on their own anymore.
There is a decent cast in this film, outside of Cage himself of course. Noah Le Gros is a relative newcomer as a major role in a feature length film playing the grown up James McAllister on his revenge tour, and I think the guy has promise. Albeit he’s being very quickly typecast into western flicks coming from 5 episodes of 1883 to this. He does a good job playing a guy who is clearly carrying around deep childhood trauma from having his dad die in his arms as a kid. That being said, Noah Le Gros has really pretty eyes for a rough and tumble cowboy, and I’ve said that in reviews more than I ever thought I would.
Nick Searcey is here as the Marshall, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Abraham Benrubi, one of the rednecks from Without A Paddle and of course Thor from the Brendan Fraser George of the Jungle flick. It might sound like I’m being facetious, but I do enjoy him whenever he appears in film. And then there’s Clint Howard who is kinda like the first fully unbroken taco in the Taco Bell party pack. The guy’s been working in film since 1963 and he evolved into a crazy prospector about twenty years ago. Still, he was one of the brightest spots on any Uwe Boll movie. It takes a true actor to be in The Rocketeer the same year as playing Ricky in Silent Night Deadly Night 5.
You may notice I’m not talking a lot about the film here, and that’s because The Old Way is like the unsweetened almond milk of movies. It’s not that it’s poorly shot or acted, but it is painfully generic. It is so much of a Hollywood western film that you already know how the whole plot goes if you’ve seen anything like it. I really liked The Last Son because it played on the whole western revenge story and somewhat felt fresh, and had a great cast to boot. The cast here is fine. The plot is whatever. I can’t say I hated it, but it’s hard to imagine anyone for whom this concept will shock and surprise. I guess every film is someone’s first in a genre.
I can’t complain about the cinematography. The worst thing that I can say about The Old Way is that, like its namesake, it’s been done a million times over. As someone who has been spoiled on the greats of old west films, mostly coming from Sergio Leone and the like in the 60s and 70s, it’s crazy to think that western movies really went downhill despite over sixty years to build on the content. If you want to ruin most modern westerns for yourself, just check out the Dollars trilogy one day. Or many of the other spaghetti westerns from the time.
Also Nicolas Cage only has his beautiful western mustache for the first few minutes of the movie. That’s a travesty.
Pretty bad movie stolen plot from hundreds of bad movies before it.