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Featured DVD Review: The Righteous and the Wicked

November 13th, 2011

The Righteous and the Wicked - Buy from Amazon

Low-budget Westerns have definitely become more common recently, but I'm not really sure why. Westerns are not the most popular genre when it comes to direct-to-DVD releases. Plus, they tend to cost more to make than an action film set in modern day, because it costs money to made period clothing, props, etc., and that's assuming you can find a location to shoot in. The Righteous and the Wicked is the latest such release to land on my desk, but does it offer anything new to the genre?

The Movie

The film begins with a lone figure on a horse riding towards an older man, who introduces himself as Bill Hobbs. Bill Hobbs asks if the lone man is Leonard. It's not. A quick draw later and Bill Hobbs is dying on the ground.

When the men Bill was waiting for finally show up, they are perturbed that Bill is dead, but decide the plan is still worth it, so they decide to go forward, but they will need more men and a new meeting spot. James "Hoss" Williams, the leader, quickly recruits Lionel Gage, who was just released by the sheriff. Hoss's cohort, Leonard Cross, then gets a job with said sheriff. In quick order, Hermann Wenkel and Vargas are added to the team, then when they all meet, Hoss introduces them to Peter Mason. Pete works at the Baxter Mining Company, specifically as a guard in the payroll office. Once a month, the payroll comes into town on a highly guarded stagecoach and leaves the next day. What isn't widely known is that the payroll is for two mines. A second stagecoach comes in later on, on the second afternoon, but for a brief few hours, $7,000 is kept in the company safe guarded by just two men. It's the perfect time to steal it. It's Pete's job to get them into the payroll office quietly, Hermann will crack the safe, while Gage and Vargas act as a distraction. What could go wrong?

First of all, the quiet stranger who shot Bill Hobbs comes to claim his reward. Seems he's intent on collecting the rewards on all of the West Mountain Boys, and there's only one left. ... James "Hoss" Williams. Secondly, the group quickly learns there's no honor among thieves.

After watching this movie, I can honestly say, it's very, very average. However, that's almost all I can say, as there's little here that's noteworthy, either good or bad. It's a heist movie, but they don't focus enough on that part to be a selling point, nor is it so poorly done that it is a major liability. The gang turning on each other is the same; it works well enough, I suppose, but we are not given a reason to really care about these characters. There's not a lot of action, but at least the stunts don't look really bad, which is a problem with a lot of low-budget westerns. The writing was better than average for the sub-genre, as was the acting, while some of the shots looked really nice, but it all just adds up to a very average film with little to be enthusiastic about.

On the other hand, I guess it's better than watching practically the same revenge flick starring the most recent MMA fighter thinking of starting a career in Hollywood.

The Extras

Extras include an audio commentary track with the director, Craig A. Butler, and the D.P., Billy Garberina and a 35-minute long behind-the-scenes featurette. Both are worth checking out and overall it is better extras than expected.

The Verdict

If you are a fan of the current crop of low-budget Westerns, then The Righteous and the Wicked is worth checking out. The extras on the DVD are better than expected, but the replay value limits the whole deal to a rental.

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