By: John M Jerva
THE GOOD: One genre that has been seeing a lot of releases in the DTV market nowadays is the western. Once a hallowed set of films which showcased the lawless times in a young US, now is a severe hit or miss with the latter being mostly the case. With that I give you the pleasant surprise with a film titled Outnumbered. More surprising is that it comes from Australia which would technically make it an eastern but I digress. The cinematography is sweeping and grand with some killer shots of the Australian outback.
Outnumbered is an indie effort from producer and director Emmet Adcock and it features all the things that make a western good. There’s moral codes, fierce and ambitious shootouts and the classic good guys versus outlaws theme that makes us coming back to this tried and true genre. Two brothers, Jack and Billy, help out a marshal and in doing so it puts them in the crosshairs of a dreaded gang who the leader just happens to be the man who murdered their father years earlier.
Adcock along with Chris Mauch and his wife, Julie have made a true love letter to the genre that signals back to some of the films of old and there is no grey area here as it’s good against bad, white hats against black hats. The action is serviceable and fans will get their fill of six shooters and horses with practical stunts and fight choreography that remind us of a time before CGI. The cast is authentic with most of them being true life cowboys so that does factor in while viewing.
THE NOT SO GOOD: There’s nothing new we haven’t seen here and it’s cut and dry pace doesn’t offer much in the surprise department. The plot is routine with the main antagonist of Crocker being the same man who killed the brothers’ father so there’s that and you know what’s coming next.
There are some pacing issues but for the most part, things move at a moderate pace but some time could have been trimmed off to have it flow a little better. Some of the scenes of dialogue did go on for longer than needed but I was vested in it so there’s a plus.
It’s a lower budgeted affair and it shows occasionally and unfortunately we are treated to more rounds of CGI blood where practical effects and blood squibs could have punched home the dramatic effects a lot better. The action, while ambitious, could have been more epic and while watching, I couldn’t help but think of other westerns I love like Tombstone, 3:10 to Yuma or Open Range.
OVERALL: Outnumbered is a good effort from a young filmmaking crew that includes real life riders of the range and while it doesn’t deliver anything new to the genre, it definitely is leaps and bounds over what we’ve been getting from this genre lately. There’s plenty of serviceable action with a see it coming showdown and the cast do an admirable job with what’s given. Go in with an open mind and don’t expect John Wayne and you might have a good time with this western or eastern from down under.
Outnumbered has seen a release in its native Australia and will hit North America this year.