On paper, Cowboys & Aliens sounds like One of the biggest draws of the Summer. It's a hybrid of a Western (a reemerging genre thanks to the likes of True Grit and Rango) and a Sci-Fi action spectacle (which are always popular). Its cast is the kind that drops jaws: The Two leads, Daniel, 'James Bond,' Craig and Harrison, 'Indiana Jones/Han Solo,' Ford, have enough badass star-power between them to light up the sky, not to mention the luminous Olivia Wilde as, 'the hot chick,' and a supporting cast that includes the likes of Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, and Adam Beach. Throw in Director Jon Favreau, best known for turning Iron Man into a total blast, and you've got quite the resume. It's the kind of line up that courts lofty expectations, and makes mediocre movies look like bad Ones.
A man (Craig) wakes up in the middle of the desert without any memory of who he is or where he came from. He enters the town of Absolution, a rough and tumble outfit of men governed by the surly, cruel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford), and his hellion of a son, Percy (Dano). The mysterious man, who we find out is named John Lonergan, is detained by Dolarhyde for a crime he cannot remember. Then, just as a proper story is beginning to establish itself, a throng of ariel attackers invade the city, kidnapping Percy and others with strange, lasso-like devises. Putting aside their differences, Lonergan, Dolarhyde, and a variety of townsfolk set out to rid Absolution of their assailents, and return the human detainees to safety.
As the leads, Craig and Ford are... well... fine. They both do their part, both scowl and spit and shot in a way that befits their pattented personas. Yes, they're alright... and they're the best thing in the movie. Sure, Rockwell and Dano shine in their minor roles, but their bright spots are nothing in comparison to the way that Wilde drags the thing down. Same goes for Favreau, who made a wise decision in the first Iron Man to keep his action scenes to a minimum. In both Iron Man 2 and now Cowboys & Aliens, he's shown himself incapable of constructing involving scenes of mayhem, the final, action-packed hour of C&A proving to be quite a bore. The screenplay, penned by a plethora of scribes, lead by Star Trek/Transformers writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, is cliche, plodding, and unexciting. If you can't tell, I wasn't a big fan of Cowboys & Aliens: I found it to be illogical, coma-inducing, and woefully lacking in a basic sense of fun. My guess is that you'll feel the same.