3:10 to Yuma

Friday night we watched 3:10 to Yuma, the 2007 version.

I’m not going to write a complete review, if you are interested in that, Movie Habit has a great review. I’m just going to give this movie a hearty endorsement. Russell Crowe was outstanding, Christian Bale was stellar, the scenery was beautiful and the story was engaging. It’s got to be the best movie I’ve seen this year.

One detail that I thought was just amazing was the sound. So often gunfire in movies has a weak Hollywood sound. Anyone who’s ever actually fired a gun knows what I mean. Rifles have a very distinctive crack, and a pistol is typically so loud it makes your ears ring without ear plugs. In 3:20 to Yuma there is a great scene where there is an ambush. Not only does the rifle fire have a good sound, you can here the echos reverberate off the canyon walls just like they would in a real environment. I was very impressed.

I few plot flaws I would like to discuss, and there are some potential spoilers here, so you were warned.

A decoy is sent out in a ‘prison’ stagecoach to ward off the gang in an attempt to get to the local army post and get help. When the gang catches up to the stage there are three problems. First, the guy inside the stage only has one weapon. You would think you would bring a couple pistols, maybe a scattergun. Second, the guy in the stage is alone. You would think you could have hidden two or three guys inside to ambush the gang. Third, the stage was actually locked. Why lock the guy in so he can be brutally burned to death.

While the decoy was being sent out, the party left Dan’s ranch under cover of night, traveled an unknown distance and built a huge fire for the whole world to see. Why not travel all night and camp in the morning. They had already been fed by Dan’s wife Alice at the ranch, why build a fire at all. They were in Arizona, surely they didn’t need a huge fire for warmth.

Once the gang had discovered the decoy the comment was made that Contention City was eighty miles away. A tremendous distance by horse, but the party escorting Ben Wade to Contention City was still close enough to see the stage burning in spite of the stagecoach having traveled all night at a high rate of speed and the prisoner escort having traveled part of a night and part of a day toward Contention City.

When the party reaches Contention City, their first order of business is where to hide their prisoner. They choose the local Hotel. Now this just seems silly to me. Who would hide a prisoner in a hotel for two hours while waiting for a train knowing that his friends were going to rescue him. Not exactly easily defensible or very inconspicuous. Seems like the train station , the local jail or some random place where people wouldn’t look would have made much more sense.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the film, but the writers could have made a few adjustments to let us know Dan, the Pinkerton and the Railroad Man were a little more savvy.