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Article by Teddy Durgin

The 'Lone Ranger' Rides Again

There has been SO much time, talk and attention devoted to zombies in our culture and pop culture in recent years with "World War Z" and "The Walking Dead" and "Warm Bodies." The phrase "preparing for the zombie apocalypse" has become the new joke for those who go to the supermarket every couple of weeks and stock up on big quantities of bottled water, toilet paper, and canned goods. Zombies, of course, aren't real. People rising from the dead, crawling out of their boxes, limp-walking all weird? Not gonna happen, folks. HOWEVER, if such a miraculous thing were to transpire, it might happen in the next few days as "The Lone Ranger" begins its run in theaters. I could see a cemetery located close to a cineplex that is showing this flick on multiple screens springing to life with the re-animated corpses of our dads, granddads, and great-granddads hearing that great old "Lone Ranger" theme and homing in. The film is not only an entertaining throwback to the late, great TV series of the 1950s starring Clayton Moore as the title character and Jay Silverheels as his trusty Indian sidekick, Tonto, it's also a love letter to every classic Western ever made. That said, this is a good movie that could have been an astoundingly great movie had director Gore Verbinski and Co. saw fit to shave about 20 minutes of bloat off this two-and-a-half-hour thing and deliver a tight, rip-roarin' yarn. When this yarn rips, it roars. But you have to slog through quite a bit of filler and put up with several completely unnecessary characters to get to the good stuff. But the good stuff is friggin' great! Armie Hammer stars as lawyer John Reid, who has come to bring justice to the Wild West with justifiable arrests, trials, and due process. His destination is the Lone Star State, where his brother Dan (James Badge Dale) is a Texas Ranger awaiting to take custody of outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). But corruption is all around the Reid boys. Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson) is a crooked railroad executive who says he wants to keep peace with the local Cherokee. But clearly, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing, knows that there is silver in them thar hills, and has the U.S. Cavalry led by Captain Jay Fuller (Barry Pepper) in his back pocket. He also has his sights set on Dan's wife, Rebecca (Ruth Wilson), and her son. John spends much of the film - too much, in my opinion - sifting through these major and minor players and trying to gauge their motivations. He starts off naive and a bit of a bumbler. But Hammer, with his classic matinee idol good looks, eventually rises to the occasion and makes for an awesome Lone Ranger. And he and Johnny Depp's Tonto make for a quirky and fun buddy team. And thank God composer Hans Zimmer also had to score "Man of Steel." By all accounts, he went through that process obsessed with differentiating his themes from John Williams' legendary compositions. Here, he just embraces the classic "Lone Ranger" theme. There is a huge, I'd say 15- or 20-minute climax involving a couple of trains, horses, dynamite, six-shooters, and more. And Zimmer starts the sequence with the theme and finds a way to stretch that fairly small piece of music out for the full and entire sequence. It is so dang awesome that I think I was literally in my theater seat faking like I was on a horse and tracking with the action on screen. In a summer of increasingly dark entertainment - seriously, Superman, Iron Man, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were all really put through the ringers these past couple o' months - it's great to see a film set against sunny vistas and sweeping landscapes that focuses on heroism and daring-do. It's about a lawman who doesn't give in to cynicism, who doesn't take up the gun to be a vigilante, who holds himself to a higher standard. Wouldn't it be great if all summer blockbusters did the same?

"The Lone Ranger" is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence and some suggestive material.


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