3:10 to Yuma Review

by Ed Lau on January 9, 2008

3:10 to Yuma

It’s been awhile since I’ve watched any sort of Western since I don’t think there has been a particularly good one since Unforgiven so I don’t have much to compare to 3:10 to Yuma, which was recently released on DVD. 3:10 is somewhat of a remake of a 1957 movie of the same title where outlaw Ben Wade is caught after a successful robbery and is awaiting transport to prison on the 3:10 train to Yuma. Wade, played by Russell Crowe, is a notorious criminal who leads a very skilled and organized gang, who are determined to free him by killing his captors. As a result, there aren’t many volunteers to escort Wade to the train station.

The other leading man in 3:10 to Yuma is Christian Bale, who portrays Dan Evans, a rancher struggling to make ends meet for his wife and two young boys. He finds Wade using his cattle as a distraction for the robbery and confronts him. Although Wade has no problem killing, even shooting one of his own, he is not one to kill without purpose and lets Evans and his boys gather their cattle. Desperately in need of money to keep his land, Evans volunteers to be part of the entourage that takes Wade to the train.

3:10 to Yuma, Russell Crowe, Christian Bale

Although there is plenty of action in the form of gunfights and horse chases, the movie really isn’t about either. This is a story about the two men who should be enemies but in fact, they see each other as rivals. Evans finds himself angry that this merciless killer is more charming, more intelligent and better off than he is as Wade sweet-talks his wife and easily impresses his older son. Wade, perhaps jealous of Evans’ simpler lifestyle, takes ever chance he can get to convince Evans he is the superior of the two.

3:10 to Yuma, Christian Bale

Both characters are played to perfection by their respective actors. Bale is just about flawless as Evans, a man who has been beaten down by life, losing a leg in the Civil War and avoiding risks since. He’s finally had enough and will stop at nothing to prove to his family that he can provide for them and be a hero rather than the loser he thinks they see him as. Even though he’s a ruthless killer, it is impossible not to like Ben Wade, if only because every other character save for Evans’ and his family seems abhorent. Heck, I felt like cheering when Wade kills a few of them. He’s a terribly interesting character being as intelligent and well-mannered as he is morally bankrupt but you get the sense that Wade is regaining a bit of his humanity as he travels with Evans.

Although the impeccably choreographed gunfight near the end of the film is fantastic, the best scene is definitely the conversation between the two main characters as they’re locked in a hotel, awaiting transport with Wade’s gang circling like a pack of wolves. It brings us all back to a time when Westerns weren’t defined by which had the most explosions or hats shot off or wagon painting but by dialogue. 3:10 to Yuma is a very special movie in this sense and I would highly recommend it.

Verdict: 8.0 out of 10

in Entertainment

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

sir jorge January 10, 2008 at 2:17 pm

this looks like a winner

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Leo January 11, 2008 at 4:09 am

I just saw it today. I like it a lot for the great acting but I didn’t quite get it in the end. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody but after all the trouble Wade’s gang goes to to save his ass he goes and . . . well, I guess loyalty doesn’t pay in crime.

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ScottUA January 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Love this movie…the guy that played Wade’s second in command is a scary dude. I’ve seen in a couple of other films and he plays a pretty mean bad guy.

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