Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Westerns rule. They’re one of the best and easiest types of movies to make. They’ve got the best villains available. They’ve got heroes everyone can relate to and cheer for. Usually, they’ve got beautiful, strong willed women whose support and love aid the family unit in its time of need. And of course, Westerns have great gun fights. So why, the need to remake 3:10 to Yuma, when an original script can be drummed up so easily?

Since you’re here, I’ll tell you — Hollywood is bankrupt! It makes perfect sense to dust off the archives and spruce up an existing story with fresh actors. The quick turnaround means more profits for the studios. I usually fancy finding fault with remakes, and my reasoning is generally dead-on. The problem here is that the formula actually works. 3:10 to Yuma, while having a few quirks, is a surprisingly good movie.

Russell Crowe takes on the role of the murderous badass, Ben Wade. He leads a group of ruthless robbers and cutthroats who take joy in plundering the coffers of the Southern Pacific Railroad while terrorizing residents of local municipalities. His luck turns for the worse when he is captured with his pants down by local officials. The U.S. Marshals’ task is to now get him on a train to Yuma to face the hangman’s noose. This is no easy task, as Wade calmly lets them know his gang will soon be looking to free him and kill those who would imprison him. Enter Christian Bale. He plays Dan Evans, a hobbled family man and rancher, who finds himself deep in debt. For $200 he’s willing to babysit Wade and ensure he boards the train. This, of course, is where the fun begins. There are run-ins with rogue Indians. There are altercations with pissed-off railroad workers. There are fights amongst themselves. And in the end it’s all capped off with an explosive finale.

However, for a Western to work, the correct characters must be written and have the correct actors cast in the roles. The hero must be someone the audience can and will connect with. The anti-hero must be vilified and someone people will love to hate (or vice versa). For the hero, he must exhibit humble qualities and have an over-achieving drive to do the right thing. Dan Evans has those traits and he’ll see it through to the finish — even if that means putting himself into harms way. Christian Bale, in all his seriousness, throws himself into the role and clearly captures Dan’s complexities and nuances. On the other end of the spectrum, who better is there to play a brazen outlaw than Russell Crowe, who in real life is a cocky asshole. His dry sense of humor and pompousness relate perfectly to the portrayal of Ben Wade. He’s so convincing at it, that at times I actually found myself rooting for this guy.

Gluing it all together, along with the gunfights, are the mind games both men play on one another. Wade tries overtly to recruit those that would hang him when his scare tactics don’t waver them. This is done by acting tough and unfazed even though inside he is truly a caring man. Evans uses his war injury and his personal fears to pull on the heart strings of the railroad representatives and Wade. He wants everyone to think his sacrifice is all for providing to his family, when in reality his choices are made for much more cynical reasons. This all leads to some very interesting and cathartic moments.

While 3:10 to Yuma is no Unforgiven or High Noon, it does possess small snippets of each. Add in strong performances by the lead actors and an enjoyable movie is born. This is by no means a glowing endorsement of remakes though. Hollywood still needs to get and stay original. The studios also need to release more Westerns — you can never have enough Westerns.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)' have 27 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 18, 2007 @ 7:17 am drew

    I liked this movie too. Usually, Christian Bale doesn’t get high marks for his performances, hopefully that will change after people see this. He carries the movie.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 18, 2007 @ 4:41 pm Sir Speedy

    I’m not sure how I felt about this film. Neither of the characters were particularly interesting. There wasn’t anything special about the action either. However, I think I agree with the reviewer that a Western carries itself differently from other films and even with questionable material they are still watchable and enjoyable.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 19, 2007 @ 8:23 pm Barry Cox

    I miss Westerns. It seems like there just aren’t very many good ones that have come out in recent years. My favorite Western is still Tombstone. It’s kind of cheesy but Val Kilmer was awesome in that movie.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 27, 2007 @ 2:20 pm Kara

    great film. Russell Crowe was wonderful in it.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 5, 2007 @ 7:39 pm Brendon

    I’ve only liked one western (Tombstone), but I loved this movie. I’m not sure what it was that made it go against the western norm in my mind, but it’s a fantastic movie. Between this and American Gangster, Crowe is having one hell of a year.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 8:15 am ANN

    Westerns rule, I still love to watch the black and white westerns late at night on the cable.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 9:16 am Ra

    I will surely go to the cinema. Russell Crowe is very good actor

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 12:09 pm Smith

    Always been a fan of Russell Crowe – will have to watch this.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 1:18 pm Short Films

    I don’t watch enough western films any more unfortunately. Everytime I see one I always think I’m gonna watch another one soon but it rarely happens. There should be more western short films, too little time, too many films :)

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 1:25 pm Atomic Popcorn

    Loved it – another take on the movie can be found on our website.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 7, 2007 @ 7:47 pm PPV

    Oh I miss the days when westrns were the norm on sunday afternoon

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2007 @ 11:20 pm Jan Bay

    I usually don’t watch Westerns (too much dust and too little plot), but 3:10 to Yuma may have begun to raise my tolerance for this type of film.

    Russell Crowe’s acting has never impressed me as much as it did in this film, Christian Bale and Ben Foster were fabulous as always.

    The story was entertaining enough to hold my interest (something westerns don’t normally do) and the unpredictable climax made me happy that it did.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 12, 2007 @ 3:58 am Sirius Lee

    I like Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as much as anybody else. They’re charismatic, and very accomplished actors. But, forgive me for saying this, the last true Western movie was Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. Everything else that came after that pale in comparison, though I enjoyed Broken Trail, with Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church, as well as Seraphim Falls, with Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson.

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 12, 2007 @ 7:45 pm Claire DeLune

    I concur with Sirius Lee’s opinion, but in light of the fact that we don’t have another Mr. Eastwood movie around at the moment this movie is good.

    The Unforgiven, Shane (and the list goes on and on) were the trailblazers and probably will never be outdone, but we aren’t being unfaithful to the great ones by giving the occasional nod of approval.

  15. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 13, 2007 @ 12:14 am Sirius Lee

    Thanks for pointing that out, Claire DeLune. I guess I was a bit harsh on the films that came after Unforgiven. But the film was so damn good, I couldn’t help but use this as a standard for judging other films in the same genre. But you’re right, 3:10 to Yuma was good, by most standards.

  16. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 13, 2007 @ 7:15 pm Pauline

    Westerns have really taken a dive over the last few years (or more).

    Why is that?

  17. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 13, 2007 @ 9:25 pm Jan Bay

    First as this is a review of 3:10 to Yuma, I want it on the record that I enjoyed the movie more than most modern westerns. As Pauline stated, contemporary westerns just aren’t as good as most of the old ones that other reviewers in this thread mentioned. Could this be because they lack the atmosphere and the vintage feel of the classics? I don’t think that most viewers would want to revert back to black and white films, but you must admit that they have something that color lacks.

  18. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 15, 2007 @ 7:40 pm magazin

    Great film. Russell Crowe was wonderful in it.

  19. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 29, 2007 @ 12:03 pm joedel

    I agree. The movie is not that bad.

  20. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 16, 2008 @ 3:18 pm Nicky Hair

    My all time favorite westerner has to be A Fist Full of Dollars. That will give anyone the “cowboy” feeling :). I love westerners and so I have to say I did like this movie.

  21. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 2, 2008 @ 2:55 pm Computer Repair

    Usually I’m not into movies like 3:10 to Yuma. Actually I started watching it twice and about 15 minutes through I thought it would be boring. When I ran out of movies to watch I turned this movie on for the background noise while on my laptop. The twists on who wants to catch and kill who really drew me in and I really enjoyed the movie. Only wish that I watched it sooner.

  22. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 12, 2008 @ 6:33 pm Michele

    I loved the movie. I grew up on repeats of old TV series westerns like the rifleman. As a kid, I found them boring. It wasn’t until my teens that I realized what a great genre the western is. Unfortunately, Hollywood won’t make a lot of them if they aren’t box office draws, and if Christian Bale/Russell Crowe can’t make the movie a box office success, I don’t hold out much hope anyone else could, either.
    That of course doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. Lots of stinkers make twice as much and aren’t nearly as entertaining.
    I hope we get to see more well made westerns, and I would LOVE to see Crowe/Bale together again onscreen, in another western or otherwise. Great chemistry with that pair. :)

  23. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 10, 2008 @ 6:10 am David Brown

    I watched this movie with my girl friend and we both enjoyed it very much. Unfortunatly modern westeners are not as good as the old ones but this was different. I have to say personally I would recomment it to anyone who likes westeners. Good plot and portrays the cowboy feeling quite well.

  24. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 12, 2008 @ 11:43 am big dave

    I agree 110%. I loved that film. I used to only really like the old westerns but this is proof that it can still be done

  25. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 25, 2008 @ 7:39 am irish gift store

    Have to agree about Russel Crowe. I’d gone off him a bit after all his off screen capers over the past few years, but phew! what an actor!

  26. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 15, 2010 @ 10:19 pm Harry Bertoia

    It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this movie, but I really enjoyed it. I like Westerns in general however and this was one of my favorites.

  27. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 19, 2012 @ 12:48 am Graham

    I was searching for 3:10 to Yuma as I was about to buy its DVD and I read the the reviews here and I was glad that I should buy its DVD and watch this stunning movie.

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