The Outsider 2019 ****

Despite the best efforts of Quentin Tarantino and Westworld, the Western hasn’t quite been revived as a genre, but there seems to be a strain of tough, adult fare developing from Bone Tomahawk onwards. Director Timothy Woodward Jr seems to be a fan of the form, with a Bill Hickok biopic amongst his many recent credits, and The Outsider is a more than decent entry in the Western stakes, shot at the old Paramount Ranch.  John Foo plays Jing Phang, a railroad-worker who not surprisingly struggles to find social equality in the Old West. When the increasingly unhinged James Walker (Kaiwi Lyman), son of lawman Marshall Walker (singer Trace Adkins ) takes an unpleasant shine to Phang’s wife, Phang is unable to prevent her from falling into his clutches , and revenge ensues. The Outsider’s plotline makes it sound like an eye-for-an-eye Charles Bronson movie, but Sean Ryan’s script is considerably more complex and thoughtful than might be expected, and follows a number of factions in the town while Phang is on the run. If the climax doubles down on melodrama in a frustratingly conventional way, The Outsider scores points as a well-mounted, traditional Western that should please anyone looking for a fix of old-school moral justice.


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  1. The straight up-and-down Western is struggling indeed. But when combined with Science Fiction and Horror elements such as your examples of WESTWORLD and BONE TOMAHAWK, it brings in a new audience. DJANGO UNCHAINED and THE HATEFUL EIGHT were straight Westerns that were successful more because of QT than anything else.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love both of ’em as I love all of Tarantino’s movies but I don’t think they would have had the same impact if another filmmaker had made them.

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