Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Baytown Outlaws (2012)

I went into The Baytown Outlaws expecting to enjoy it, but I was being hopeful. I didn't really know much about the plot and I certainly had no idea who the main actors were. Eva Longoria and Billy Bob Thornton were the main names being used to market the movie, but I knew that they weren't in it for all that long. Thankfully, Clayne Crawford, Daniel Cudmore and Travis Fimmel in the lead roles are pretty perfect and they help make this into one hell of an enjoyable experience.

The three men I just mentioned play the Oodie brothers, gun-toting lads who are more than happy to kill any criminals that are working in their area. They get the satisfaction of being good citizens and also pleasing the local law enforcement (well, pleasing Andre Braugher's character anyway). When they are approached by the fine-looking Celeste (Eva Longoria) with a job offer that will see them a fair bit richer for getting her godson, Rob (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), back to her. It seems like an easy job, but they have to get Rob away from the dastardly Carlod (Billy Bob Thornton) and then avoid retribution from the people who will come after them, including some dangerous women played by Zoe Bell and the gorgeous Serinda Swan, among others.

Directed by Barry Battles (who also co-wrote the movie with Griffin Hood), The Baytown Outlaws is a near-perfect slice of entertainment for fans of this particular style. But what particular style is it? Well, that's the beauty of it. You get a choice. If you want rednecks arguing with each other then you can enjoy the many moments in which the Oodie brothers get on each other's nerves (though Lincoln, played by Daniel Cudmore is mute unless talking through a speech synthesising device, but leader Brick, played by Clayne Crawford, and McQueen, played by Travis Fimmel, more than make up for his relative silence). If you want something that's more violent and confrontational then don't worry because there sure are plenty of moments that will make the grade for you there. Want something rough and rugged that also has real heart? It's got that. The movie covers all bases, really, and expertly blends thrills with comedy and some real emotion.

This is thanks in no small part to the script and direction, of course, but everything is also given a major boost by the top-notch cast. The actors playing the Oodie brothers are absolutely superb. They carry the movie effortlessly and collectively make for the best anti-hero(es) that I have seen on-screen in some time. Billy Bob Thornton has some fun, Eva Longoria does well enough and did I mention the gorgeous Serinda Swan (who I last saw in the godawful Creature)? In fact, the cast is a veritable who's who of people that you will know from other movies even if the name escapes you. Andre Braugher is best known to many people for his role in The Mist. Michael Rapaport, who has a small, but memorable, role has been in plenty, from True Romance to Deep Blue Sea. Zoe Bell, who put in many years as a hard-working stunt-woman, is perhaps best known to audiences nowadays for her role in Death Proof and even Thomas Brodie-Sangster may make people scratch their heads while they try to figure out what else he has been in - he's been in plenty, but I remembered him most clearly from Love Actually (and it's fun to see that he's grown up, but his face just hasn't changed a bit). Paul Wesley, who plays a non-local officer named Reese out to upset the status quo, was the only face I didn't recognise from other movies, but he has an extensive filmography full of stuff that just hasn't passed before my eyes yet.

Overall, I can't think of any other 2012 release that has the mix of great characters, fierce violence, hot and dangerous biker chicks, corrupt police officers and even a cracking soundtrack accompanying everything. The fact that it also has one of the best title sequences I've seen in a long time is just the icing on the cake. Rent it, see it, consider buying it.


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