The Cowboy Way Reviews
The plot centres around two cowboys in New Mexico (Woody Harrelson and Kiefer Sutherland) who must travel east to New York in order to find their Cuban friend Nacho (who went to find his daughter). Turns out Nacho owed money to a gang for bringing his daughter into the US from Cuba. In the meantime the gang keeps his daughter in sweat shop slavery. So the butch stetson wearing duo must find Nacho and his daughter.
In short this is a very weak rip-off of 'Crocodile Dundee' but minus everything that made that movie a classic. I'm sure you know exactly what to expect when I say that. Both protagonists are your absolute cowboys. They both wear stetsons, jeans and cowboy boots all the time. They both have various stereotypical cowboy skills which come in handy throughout. And they are both displayed to be rather butch and sexy over dem city folk. The only real difference is Sutherland's character is the more sensible, straight laced cowboy with morals. Where as Harrelson's cowboy is the wildcard who loves loose women, drinking and getting into trouble. Pretty predictable stuff really.
Most of the action we see if also your predictable guff (oh my the stunt doubles!!) which was done way better in that 1986 Aussie comedy. Being cowboys these guys are of course out of their natural habitat in downtown New York/Manhattan. They dress funny, they talk funny, and they act all gruff; its all just so...funny. Somehow they manage to waltz into the Waldorf Astoria unchallenged and then manage to get into the dinning area for a snack to eat. Oh the hilarity that ensues as Harrelson's Pepper character acts all uncouth (ahem).
Later on Pepper gets himself into a posh yuppy-esque party for catwalk models (some middle aged woman takes a fancy to him). So this is the part where Pepper acts a bit homophobic because cowboys are real men, grrr! As the plot progresses they meet mounted police office Ernie Hudson who tickets them for camping out in Central Park (you know because they're cowboys and that's what cowboys do). Ernie's character seems to fall under a bit of a man/hero crush with these cowboys and starts helping them on their quest. By helping them I mean completely violating his jobs procedures and acting like a wild cowboy. This includes riding all over New York on his police horse waving his gun around. And allowing Pepper to drive his truck full speed into a local bar owned by the gang (his truck seemingly suffers no damage and apparently no one gets killed or injured).
As the trio chase after the main villain (a snarling, scenery chewing Dylan McDermott who dies quite horribly in the end) they basically end up riding horseback all over places which you simply wouldn't expect to see a horse being ridden. This is of course the movies main hook, having cowboys running amok in Manhattan. They make a point to ride past many landmarks, because of course they do. I can't deny it was interesting to see these scenes of cowboys galloping down main streets, bridges, railway stations, the port areas etc...
In the end this is a cheeky little number that solely relies on the then star 'brat pack' power of Kiefer Sutherland (which he retained for quite sometime); and that period in time when Woody Harrelson was considered a bit of a heartthrob. It also relies heavily on the overly used concept of lower class rough types clashing with posh types, and the tired culture clash formula. The weathered, seemingly backwards type character/s entering the fast-paced modern world.
Its totally as you would expect all the way. A silly comedy with Harrelson in his brazen undisciplined period, and Sutherland just doing what he always kinda did...look stoic (whilst also looking like he stepped out of a Marlboro advert here). Its reasonable but there are much better similar action comedy flicks from this era.
"Pepper" frequently gets in trouble, and "Sonny" always gets him out of trouble. But not after "Pepper" deserts "Sonny", who loses a chance at at winning some muxh needed money.
Some time later, "Sonny" comes to "Pepper's" house to ask for a loan to go search for his missing friend "Nacho" (Joaquin Martinez) in New York City. "Nacho" had gone to the "Big Apple" to meet up with his daughter, "Theresa" (Cara Buono), who was smuggled into the country by a man (Dylan McDermott), who demanded more money from him or he won't see his daughter, who had been working in a sweat shop.
"Pepper" lends "Sonny" the money, on the condition that he goes with him after being informed that "Sonny" hadn't heard from "Nacho" in some time.
Now, the two go to NYC to find their friend and his daughter while trying to fit into the big city.
There are some fairly good laughs in this film, but they are not through out the entire film. Harrelson with Sutherland as the straight man make a fairly good comedic duo, but they don't get enough laughs with what they were handed in the script. One running joke, which I think is the only running joke in the entire movie, is that "Pepper" is a bit dim-witted. Many of the jokes about "Pepper" will make you laugh, but you won't bust a gut on them. Other jokes are either chuckle worthy or fall flat.
One thing that you have to do with this movie is suspend disbelief. Even though they do come across a NYPD mounted officer (Ernie Hudson), who has visions of becoming a cowboy himself, they take the law into their own hands to save "Theresa" and the cop does little to stop them.
I also thought that the supporting characters in the movie were not really developed. We basically know what the lead villain "Stark" (McDermott) is about, but we are left hanging as to why he smuggles illegals into the country. We can only assume that he does it only for the money. We also aren't shown much of the relationship between "Nacho" and "Sonny" before "Nacho" goes to NYC to pay for his daughter's trip. We are left with dialogue to explain their relationship.
Harrelson is easily the comic here and has some funny scenes and lines, but he can't carry the laughs in this movie. Like I said earlier, many of the jokes produce some laughs or light chuckles, but many I didn't laugh at. I can't remember specific jokes, but the ones I did laugh at seemed to have been grouped together in the middle of the movie.
There are also some pretty good action scenes, and at least one car vs. horse chase in the busy streets. You can also tell that there are some stunt riders thanks to distant camera shots and the stunt doubles trying to hide their faces from the camera.
If you like Country music, then you will like the soundtrack to this film. A lot of songs are modern Country, with Travis Tritt, who does a cameo early in the movie, providing one song in the film.
Despite the fact that the laughs are few, Sutherland and Harrelson make a pretty good on screen duo and is one of the few things that make this movie watchable.