This movie should really have come in swinging, against the ongoing dirge of ‘pansexual’ action figure movies. For one, it had a great cast, the two Sutherlands, Michael Wincott and Brian Cox. It’s also a western about a stone cold gunslinger taking a stand against local varmants running riot. Should’ve been a good antidote in this ongoing super hero nuclear winter, but I have to say that ‘Forsaken’ is not great and those looking for a good manly movie should proceed with caution with this one.
The film is set in the old west. We have Donald Sutherland playing Rev. Clayton, a man who will not tolerate blasphemers and certainly wretched sons who spent half of their lives out yonder killing everything that walks or crawls at one point or another. Kiefer Sutherland is one such son, who re-emerges to help the Rev. bury his wife. Locally, Brian Cox is playing smug asshole James McCurdy, a man using heavies (led by Michael Wincott) to strong arm people out of their land. As Sutherland Jr. returns, he is keen to show his father that he is a changed man, including avoiding rekindling his old lust for Demi Moore, also in the movie. But how long will he stand by playing turn the other cheek, before he starts blasting gang members to hell?
The answer is quite long. Right ’till the very end of the movie, since little but melodrama raises its head for most of the show. This is not so much a competent B-tier ‘Unforgiven’, rather than a glorified episode of Little House on the Prairie. The first problem is that Kiefer Sutherland is probably the most ill-convincing ‘Shane’ in modern western history. The man looks soft as hell and is totally into the gushing sentiment running throughout this soap opera episode. How many times does Sutherland cry in this movie? By contrast, his peers are much more convincing, Michael Wincott cuts the edge as a dangerous murderer… Sutherland does not, and Sutherland is supposed to be the one the entire gang is afraid of.
There’s also an utterly lamentable love triangle in there, with Sutherland whispering sweet nothings to Demi Moore as both try to resist their old sweetheart puppy love feelings, on the outskirts of town in relative safety. Damnit, this was not how Will Munny would’ve conducted himself. That badass would’ve gotten liquored up and went into town enacting a one man holocaust. Then later, he would’ve taken the woman to his shack, of this there would be no doubt.
There’s some good stuff in here, Brian Cox is a great actor. Boy, does he ever make a fine villain. And the shoot out at the end is fairly decent, however the likes of Cox and Wincott are under-used, with the rest of the movie being spoiled on the Sutherland’s washy father-son cliché -fest. Only for those who are really interested in it, they may at least appreciated the fine $20 million dollar visuals.