You would think the third time around they could get a story right. Based on the Elmore Leonard short story and the 1957 film starring Glenn Ford, James Mangold’s remake is a wildly uneven movie.

Christian Bale and Russell Crowe give oscillating, sometimes bafflingly schizophrenic performances, which I suppose are meant to pass for depth but come off as if there was no director on set at all. The two stars, both great actors, feel their way through a script full of corny moments and lacking when it comes to any kind of character motivation. Bale in particular seems uncomfortable.

The film is being billed as a showdown of powerhouse performances, but Pacino/De Niro in Heat this is not. Ben Foster, as Crowe’s psychopath sidekick, gives the only truly engaging performance. It’s a mildly engaging, forgettable modern western.

Extras: commentary with Mangold, making-of documentary, “Outlaws, Gangs and Posses” documentary and deleted scenes.

Grade: C-

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