Out of Retirement into the Fire
I always look forward to Kevin Costner movies. And I feel the same way about Woody Harrelson’s work. These two men are on my list of favorite actors working today. They both perform drama and comedy equally well. And they usually draw me into whatever situation their characters face. No wonder I felt so excited about seeing The Highwaymen co-starring Costner and Harrelson. Sadly, this movie about the men who finally caught Bonnie and Clyde disappointed me. But I have no complaints about the versatile co-stars. They fit into their roles as former Texas Rangers coming out of retirement at the request of Ma Ferguson (the always wonderful Kathy Bates), governor of Texas back in the early 1930s.
Costner plays Frank Hamer, who seems bored with his quiet retirement life. He’s married to a wealthy woman (realiable Kim Dickens) and wants for nothing – except excitement. Harrelson portrays Maney Gault, who feels like he’s a burden on his daughter. He welcomes the idea of working with Hamer again. Both of them are a bit rusty but dedicated to finding the outlaw couple, even though they are not up to par with newfangled police techniques. As for Bonnie and Clyde, we see very little of them. However, the film shows how a media frenzy surrounds the romantic lovers and turns them into celebrities like movie stars – no matter how many people they kill. Hamer and Gault realize the decision they must make involves violent options. If you've seen the Bonnie and Clyde movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, you know what that means.
Too bad The Highwaymen plods along with so many similar scenes one after another. Some amusing banter between the co-stars as they travel on their dangerous mission helps move things along -- but not enough to prevent the urge to nod off a bit. That’s quite surprising because I’ve never felt that way in any Costner or Harrelson movie before.
On the bright side, production values are first-rate. Cinematography, sets, and costumes look appropriate for the era depicted.
The Bonnie and Clyde killing spree
became a part of history.
Two Texas Rangers of renown
searched for this pair town after town.
Kevin and Woody do their best
as older guys put to the test.
Period cars, guns -- and clothes too
send us back in time. They sure do!
But this film crawls at a snail’s pace
to tell the tale of a true case.
(Released by Netlix and rated “R” for some strong violence and bloody images.)
For more information about The Highwaymen, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.