onsdag 18 mars 2020


Let´s go back to the early 80´s. I was watching horror films, thanks to my grandmother from a very early age. Her daughter used to rent VHS horror films down at the local rental store, where we watched a lot of gory films ( unfortunately some of them were censored, so the blood and gore could not be seen in a delightful way ). It was during this time i started discovering western films, and especially thanks to a school friend of mine called Nicklas. He have started collecting Sergio Leone films on VHS. I remember borrowing some of the big classics such as A Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars more with legendary actor Clint Eastwood. This was a fantastic way to discover western films, since director Sergio Leone was a master at doing western films in a very epic way. But i especially rememember one of the films from Sergio Leone, that i would not forget. And that is the cult classic known as Once Upon A Time In The West. Released in 1968, this film is a very well made western film with an amazing cast. Just look at names such as Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Jack Elam, Claudia Cardinale, Woody Strode and many more. Even if this film is really long ( going around 165 minutes ), Once Upon A Time In The West manage to tell a story from different peoples perspective, in a very powerful way. Speaking of actor Woody Strode i mentioned earlier, he was also in the 1995 cult classic western film The Quick And The Dead. This was actually his last film role, so it was a true honor to see him do one last performance in the genre he was fantastic in. If you love the crazy style of Raimi´s classic Evil Dead franchise, you will find some of the crazy camera technique that Sam Raimi is known for in The Quick And The Dead as well. If you have not seen The Quick And The Dead, you should. Seeing actress Sharon Stone as a bad as gun slinger is so much fun, and knowing this film is directed by legendary director Sam Raimi is of course a wonderful detail. As i always try and keep a lookout for western films released on DVD and Blu Ray, i came across a film called Badland on DVD. The cast looked great, and the story sounded interesting as well. Not kowing much about this film, i decided to buy a copy and give this film a chance. Is this an unexpected powerful return to the western genre, or is Badland a film that no one will remember ?

Detective Mathias Breecher ( Kevin Makely ) travels around to make sure that criminals will die for their crimes. As he is ready to visit his next victim known as Reginald Cooke ( Bruce Dern ), he sees that he is very ill and will die pretty soon. Reginald decide to stay at Reginalds home, until he has passed away and let him die without any violence. In this cabin Reginald´s daughter Sarah Cooke ( Mira Sorvino ) lives here as well, helping her father and taking care of their land. Mathias is about to find out, that his past might be catching up with him.

If you have been looking for a western film that reminds you of the old school films in this genre, then you might be pleased to know that Badland falls right into your category. The thing about westerns are that you can go a traditional way, or you can mix in another genre to make it more updated. But in the case of Badland, this film is made for the traditional western audience, who appreciate this classic genre. But instead of focusing on violence, this film is much more deeper than the ordinary western films. You could say that this is a film that digs deeper into the characters, than what we are used to see in this genre. There are some violence and shooting scenes as well, but these scenes never take away the depth of the story. This film has a great cast, and we have to talk about the characters for a bit. Actor Kevin Makely ( you might recognize him from the horror film Big Legend ) is a great choice as the main character Detective Mathias. You can tell that Mathias is carrying a lot of personal issues inside of him. He knows his job is to finish the lives of criminals, but with this burdon he also realise that he can not live an ordinary life unless he decides to change. Legendary actress Mira Sorvino ( she have been so good in a lot of films, and i still adore her in the classic comedy Romy & Michele High School Reunion ) give a heart warming performance as the lovely character Sarah. She is clearly a strong woman, who wants to help her very ill father Reginald ( played really well by legendary actor Bruce Dern ). The thing about Mira is that she is able to do every character in her own unique way, and she manage to do so in this film as well. I have to mention legendary actor Jeff Fahey, he really gives a solid performance as Huxley, maybe his best performance in many years. The locations are beautiful and the costume design feels realistic to the time period of the story. The only thing i can say that is negative, is that this film might be a little bit too long, almost 2 hours. Other than that i feel that this is a western film worth checking out. Director Justin Lee ( who also directed Big Legend that i mentioned earlier ) have made a western film that actually have a deep message about life, and how important it is to deal with your past. Badland is without a doubt one of the better western films i have seen in recent years, so there is no reason not to check it out.

Rating: DDD

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