Badland Image

Badland

By Alex Saveliev | November 1, 2019

That’s a lot of material for a film, and it really shouldn’t work as well as it does. Sure, Badland may not reinvent the wheel. Lee isn’t afraid to steal from the films that influenced him. There’s a particular, distinct whiff of Tarantino, as if Lee studied Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight one too many times, consequently splitting his film into chapters, and infusing it with dialogue like, “A snake is not hard to find when you flip over enough rocks”, or “I would ascertain that the outcome of this situation might be a little different than expected”. If one were to get all nitpicky, there’s plenty to pick at. Composer Jared Forman’s thundering orchestral score drowns the otherwise-relatively-subtle sequences. There are numerous, drawn-out dialogue scenes that could’ve easily been left on the chopping room floor.

“…when the film finds its pacing, it achieves impressive levels of gleeful entertainment.”

Yet, for all its faults, when the film finds its pacing, it achieves impressive levels of gleeful entertainment. There’s a badass fight involving Breecher and a gargantuan Hector (Omid Zader). Cinematographer Idan Menin captures both the wide-open vistas and claustrophobic, “sunlit-through-blinds” settings, so necessary in such Westerns. The performances are decent-to-great. Trace Adkins makes a memorable appearance as General Corbin Dandridge early on (“I assure you, sir. You will not be afforded the courtesy of a pine box,” he growls before drawing his weapon). Bruce Dern never lets down, and here once again delivers a memorable, heartfelt, stoic last plea to Mathias, almost worth the price of admission alone. Mira Sorvino provides the heart of the film, while James Russo and Jeff Fahey ham it up as only Russo and Fahey can. As for Kevin Makely, he makes for a hero that’s easy to root for, even if his performance may be a bit one-note.

Lee’s film never escapes its B-movie roots, nor does it try to, embracing its own pompousness. Breecher’s “redemptive gunslinger” journey imbues the proceedings with a suitably epic feel. The filmmaker even touches upon some interesting topics: a discussion between Breecher and Reginald revolves around justifying murder;  a touching scene between Sarah and Reginald fits well with the overarching theme of atoning for one’s past crimes. If you love Westerns as much as Lee clearly does, then holster your guns and venture into this Badland with confidence.

Badland (2019)

Directed and Written: Justin Lee

Starring: Kevin Makely, Mira Sorvino, Bruce Dern, Wes Studi, Jeff Fahey, Trace Adkins, Tony Todd, James Russo, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Badland Image

"…holster your guns and venture into this Badland with confidence."

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  1. Fergy bennett says:

    I enjoyed the film ,the love interest ,the acting I thought was very good !What makes any film good is keeping the interest going but yes I really worth a watch !

  2. Skywalker says:

    What rifle did Breecher have?

    • Badlander says:

      That is a Spencer .50 cal carbine repeating rifle that has a like 7 shell magazine in the stock.

  3. Dave says:

    Horrible acting. Its like watching a high school play. I had to stop watching after 30 minutes.

  4. W. Woo says:

    Enjoyed the short, refreshing B type film. Very entertaining western with good acting.

  5. Serge says:

    I enjoyed watching Badland. Though slow and not packed with plenty of actions, the story line is captivating. It has it’s funny moments though not intended to be funny. Kevin Makely has given a great performance. Kevin and Mira’s scenes and how they connected in Chapiter two are so captivating. They gave us too little and at the same time enough if their love connection that all I wanted was to see how they will finally reunite. I enjoyed the movie

  6. Charles Kobrin says:

    I enjoyed watching Badlands. It seemed very realistic in its setting and plot. The acting was better than most modern day westerns. The beginning with the General facing off against the detective only wet my appetite for more violence to come. Although the ending was predictable, this western was very worthwhile and satisfying to a western lover as myself!

  7. James says:

    I agree with the review, I really enjoyed this film if u take it at face value. Efficient western with some cool touches.

  8. Dan D says:

    This movie was as bad as it could be. Slow and boring, embarrassing dialogs, horrible dark camera unable to catch the beauty of the west as if all filming was done in the late cloudy afternoon. The rhythm is monotonous. It’s just unwatchable. But the worst of it all was it’s cheap attack on confederacy trying to rewrite the history, implying the black politicians were in power chasing confederate war criminal responsible for slavery. This was as repulsive as simplistic stupidity of Tarantino imagining Brett Pitt scalping German soldiers just because they were German. As if all Confederate soldiers were genetically worth of wiping of the Earth in an act of demented vengeance.
    This guy, this whoever he wants to be, is just weird. I had to put him on my list of suspects. I really don’t know if he has some very subversive political agenda or he is just as dumb as some Harley biker who walks slow, doesn’t wash, talks in deep voice, and thinks all women love him.
    Needless to say, I couldn’t watch this movie to the end.

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