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Story

If you're looking for a showcase for emerging Hollywood talent, American Outlaws is just the ticket. Its handsome young stars, playing Jesse and Frank James and gang, crack wise as if they were in a contemporary high school locker room. Combining authentic costumes and sets with stunt work befitting a Jackie Chan comedy, accompanied by an "Old West" soundtrack that's anything but old and only marginally Western, the film yields a few enjoyable highlights. Seasoned genre buffs, however, will cringe at the movie's clash of visual qualities, as well as the dialogue, which, while not as heinous as that in Maverick, is on par with Young Guns in terms of non-period flavor. It's not exactly a testament to the enduring potential of the authentic Western that was realized by Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, made barely a decade before.

With all the light-hearted action and character interplay, it's hard to tell if director Les Mayfield (Flubber) is taking the material seriously, but this much is certain: the Jesse James here (played with effortless appeal by Tigerland newcomer Colin Farrell) and his brother Frank (Gabriel Macht) have almost no connection to historical fact. Nor do their fellow farm-raised gang members, the Younger brothers Cole (Scott Caan), Bob (Will McCormack), and Jim (Gregory Smith). (And Jesse's fiancée, played by Ali Larter, looks like she dropped in from a Gap commercial.) The gang's post-Civil War battle against a ruthless railroad baron (Harris Yulin) and his Pinkerton henchman (Timothy Dalton) seems arbitrary, irrational (since farmers typically welcomed railroads, not fought them), and riddled with clichés, turning the movie's bloodless shootouts into another opportunity for pretty-boy preening. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Feature-Length Commentary With Director Les Mayfield, Co-Writer John Rogers and Editor Michael Tronick
  • Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes: The Making Of American Outlaws, Creating The Old West, How To Be An Outlaw and Costuming The Cowboys
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Storyboards
  • Production Stills
  • Cast & Crew Biographies & Film Highlights
  • Publicity Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Artwork
  • Director-Approved Transfer
  • DVD-ROM Features:
  • Screenplay Viewer with Storyboards
  • The Original Theatrical Web Site
  • Web Links!

Cast

Colin FarrellJesse James
Scott CaanCole Younger
Ali LarterZerelda 'Zee' Mimms
Gabriel MachtFrank James
Gregory SmithJim Younger
Harris YulinThaddeus Rains
Kathy BatesMa James
Timothy DaltonAllan Pinkerton
Will McCormackBob Younger
Ronny CoxDoc Mimms
Terry O'QuinnRollin H. Parker
Nathaniel ArcandComanche Tom
Ty O'NealClell Miller
Joe StevensLoni Packwood
Barry TubbCaptain Malcolm
Morgana ShawLyla
Darryl CoxJenkins

  • Genre: Western
  • Theme(s): Wild West
  • Director: Les Mayfield
  • Producer: Warner Brothers
  • Length: 94 mins
  • Aspect ratio: 1.77:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaAug 17, 2001
    EuropeDec 14, 2001
    JapanJun 28, 2003
  • Ratings
    North AmericaPG-13
    Europe12
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaFeb 3, 2004
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