By Michael Dequina | July 9, 2001

After he displayed boatloads of charisma in Joel Schumacher’s little-seen Vietnam War drama Tigerland Hollywood was quick to try to make Colin Farrell a star, and the project that was supposed to do it was this western, which cast the Irish actor as the legendary all-American outlaw Jesse James. Alas, the film barely made a blip in the late summer 2001 box office, and this isn’t so much the fault of Farrell; he again proves to be a magnetic presence. The fault instead lay with director Les Mayfield and writers Roderick Taylor and John Rogers, who decided to dumb down the proceedings for the lowest common denominator.
Given how poorly the film was received by critics and audiences, it’s rather surprising that Warner Bros. gave American Outlaws such a deluxe treatment on DVD. Mayfield, Rogers, and editor Michael Tronick are on hand for a running commentary; while the incessantly wisecracking Rogers apparently thinks he’s far more entertaining than he really is, he actually does a decent job “interviewing” the two, asking smart questions about their jobs on the film. There are no less than three behind-the-scenes featurette, all of which appear to have come from the EPK, considering their hard-sell tone. If all this isn’t enough, there’s also a gallery of publicity photos, costume sketches, storyboards, and blueprints of the sets, DVD-ROM features including the complete screenplay, plus the old standbys of deleted scenes (just two, both inconsequential), trailers, and cast and crew biographies. If only the filmmakers had put in as much effort into the film itself.
Specifications: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen; English DTS; English and French 5.1 Surround; English Dolby Surround; English, French, and Spanish subtitles; English closed captioning; DVD-ROM features.

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