Movie Review: Lone Rider (2008)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2008 western starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Cynthia Preston.

Synopsis: Honored soldier Bobby Hattaway retires from the army and returns to his hometown. However, when he arrives, he learns his childhood friend, Stu Croaker, has become a corrupt, has the local sheriff in his pocket and is increasing his land ownership through every means possible, including murder. When he learns his own family is in debt to Stu and, because of his childhood friend's efforts, is in risk of losing everything, Bobby decides to save the day.

Review

My daughter turned 7 yesterday and, as part of her birthday "tour" we stopped at my parents' house for dinner, cake and ice cream. While we were there, my dad ended up watching this movie and, since my daughter was busy playing with the presents she had just received, I ended up watching it with him while waiting for her to be ready for her cake.

As I have said in the past, I'm not a huge fan of westerns. And, this movie really didn't do much to change my opinion of them. But, I will say it was actually much more entertaining than I thought it would be.

I have always thought Lou Diamond Phillips was a bit underrated as an actor (which is why he tends to be in low-budget films like this one) and his performance as Bobby was actually a big part of the reason why this movie was as enjoyable as it was. His cool, calm demeanor worked really well, especially since it was in direct contrast to the main villain, Stu (Spano), who could often be very unpredictable.

I also thought the action scenes were somewhat interesting to watch, especially at the end of the film, when the movie had the obligatory shoot out between Stu's gang and Bobby's friends. And, while Stu, ultimately, proved to be a little too easy to defeat, his final duel with Bobby still had, at least for a moment, some suspense.

That being said, there were a couple things I did find I didn't like about this movie. The first was the cowardice displayed by all the townspeople. This is a movie that takes place in the Wild West, when everyone had guns. Yet, even though they could have easily outgunned Stu's gang had they chosen to, they just ran for shelter. That was very disappointing and really made me wonder why Bobby even tried.

I also wasn't crazy about the character Constance (Preston), mostly because she didn't have as much of a role in this movie as she probably should have given the screen time she received. As Bobby/Stu's childhood friend, I figured there would eventually be a love triangle. That wasn't the case (despite her admitting she had feelings for Bobby). And, even though Stu abused her horribly as her husband, the extent of her efforts to stand up for herself was telling Bobby about an attack he was already planning for.

Heck, the movie even ends without giving us any information about what happens to her. Did she go to work for Bobby? Did she move out of town? Did she get named as a conspirator and go to jail? If you aren't even going to give her story some closure, what is the point in having her as a character?

Lone Rider

With heartening family drama and adrenaline-pumping action, Lone Rider is a western with guts, glory, and a powerful message. Bob Hattaway, an honored soldier, returns to his We...

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Final Opinion

As I said, the movie was better than expected and had good moments. However, mostly because the writers dropped the ball on Constance and her overall role, I don't think it was as good as it had the potential to be. It was OK, but it wasn't a movie that was overly memorable either.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 07/15/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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