Sometimes a film is so bad that it’s a struggle to review it. The Lone Ranger is such a film.
Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer star in this $250m retelling of the classic story of a cowboy who fights bad guys aided by Native American ally Tonto (Depp) and his horse Silver.
The threadbare plot feels like a no-effort rehashing of The Mask of Zorro – the mountains are full of riches and a local bigwig will stop at nothing to claim them for himself.
When his Ranger brother is killed by said evildoer, young lawyer John Reid (Hammer) teams up with Tonto to hunt down the killer.
There’s also some subplot about Reid fancying his dead brother’s wife and some bookends with Depp’s Tonto telling the story to a kid at a fun fair, but as the script fails to do anything with them we shouldn’t trouble ourselves too much either.
Hammer plays Reid as if he’s never quite recovered from a near-fatal blow to the head, wandering around spouting vague lines while cocking things up until he’s corrected, slapped down or belittled by Tonto, played by Depp in pseudo Mr. Miyagi mode.
More zero than hero, The Lone Ranger makes Jonny English look accomplished.
Meanwhile Depp’s contribution is to mutter a series of supposedly profound lines while stalking the set with a dead crow on this head.
Of the three leads, the crow is the least stilted and more watchable. Unbilled, he presumably asked for his name to be removed from the credits to avoid professional embarrassment.
The film slides between comedy, drama and horror with such randomness that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the product of an insanely expensive experiment in which 149 different filmmakers were each invited to direct a single minute without reference to what the other 148 were doing.
Not only is there no consistency, there’s also no love or affection evident for the brand or source material.
I left the press screening with a deep sense of bewildered disappointment. You can recreate this by re-watching Will Smith’s Wild Wild West which you’ll find on Amazon for about a tenner less than the cost of a ticket to this mess.
Out across the UK from August 9th.