The Lone Ranger
I can still hear the words in my ears, 'A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty hi ho Silver, away! The Lone Ranger!'. Now, today that sounds a bit 'quaint' and 'dated', but if you allow yourself to remember the time, and be drawn into the story just a bit, then it's a little piece of magic! For full disclosure, I've been a fan of The Lone Ranger since I was a kid, I'm not old enough for the original radio shows, or even the first run TV shows, but it was still in reruns when I was a kid and, to me, this was a 'wild west Superman', someone who embodied all the 'big blue boy scout' niceness of Superman, but was actually a human. The Lone Ranger was never mean or cruel, he wasn't interested in gunning down the bad guys, he was a law man, and embodied the best of what we should be, and he was a Texas Ranger, so how cool is that?
So, when I saw that Disney was making a big budget Lone Ranger movie, I was pretty excited, even with Johnny Depp as Tonto, I was still excited. Then the reviews started rolling in, and they weren't that good, and the audience wasn't there, so it left theatres pretty quickly, and I just never got to the theatre to see it. So, thank God for VOD, because I finally got the chance to sit down and see if The Lone Ranger was really as bad as they said, and if they'd done one of the heroes of my youth a big disservice.....and you know, they didn't. This movie isn't nearly as bad as everyone pretended it was!
This is really an origin story, and, if you don't know, the story is an interesting one, a group of Texas Rangers head into the badlands to capture Butch Cavandish and his gang, but are ambushed and all but one is killed, that ranger is nursed back to health by Tonto, who becomes the Ranger's loyal companion. In this version, all the rangers are killed and Tonto, who apparently has some spiritual power, brings him back from the dead. The ranger than sets out on his quest for justice. Another big difference is that, in this version, it's not just the outlaws who are the bad guys, this time the railroad company's executives are in on the scheme too!
Really, this isn't as bad a movie as everyone made it out to be. Are there problems? Yes, the focus being on Tonto was a bit strange, and making Tonto some sort of deranged medicine man was odd, but Depp does a excellent imitation of Jay Silverheels, and Armie Hammer is pretty good as the Lone Ranger. Was this the best movie I ever saw? Not by a long shot! And, it did sort of feel like Pirates Of The Caribbean meets the wild west, but the story isn't terrible, the acting is strong and it's a terrific homage to a mostly forgotten franchise!
I'm giving The Lone Ranger 3 out of 4 cigars, it's not going to be your favorite movie, but, unless you're a lemming, you're not going to bash it as the worst thing ever, either!