When a Midwest town learns that a corrupt railroad baron has captured the deeds to their homesteads without their knowledge, a group of young ranchers join forces to take back what is rightfully theirs. In the course of their vendetta, they become the object of the biggest manhunt in the history of the Old West and, as their fame grows, so will the legend of their leader, a young outlaw by the name of Jesse James.
Luckily for the makers of "American Outlaws," Jesse James (Colin Farrell), his brother Frank (Gabriel Macht) and their cousin Cole Younger (Scott Caan) seem to have arrived on the scene just in time for the invention of the electric guitar. It wails on the soundtrack and makes this western, which doubtless considers itself to be a reimagining (as did "Planet of the Apes"), sound as if it came from the mind of Jon Bon Jovi. Directed with anonymous pep by Les Mayfield, "Outlaws" is a dreary populist telling of the story of the James gang. And the Bon Jovi reference is apropos, since the movie treats the fellas like a touring band that breaks up because of feuding egos and the stresses of the road. - Elvis Mitchell
2001-08-17 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of American Outlaws