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Mission: Impossible - Fallout
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All Critics (10)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (9)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (1)
The War Wagon is an entertaining, exciting western drama of revenge, laced with action and humor.
No masterpiece, but very engaging.
It's not a bad picture, just obvious.
The War Wagon is that comparative rarity, a Western filmed with quiet good humor. It is also a point of departure for John Wayne, who plays a bad guy for just about the first time in his career.
Handled with care, allowing plenty of room to explore western traditions and allow the leading men an opportunity to trade barbs and suspicions as they attempt to out barrel-chest each other (spoiler: Douglas wins).
John Wayne (in his 162nd film) joins forces with Kirk Douglas in this revenge Western that propagates rather dangerously vigilante justice, a theme Clint Eastwood will carry to an extreme in the Dirty Harry pictures.
Lame, late-in-the-day Wayne actioner.
Together, Wayne and Douglas are adept at keeping the dialog light and the action fast.
I just really love this movie, two of my favorite actors sharing the screen together in a buddy western. John Wayne and Kirk Douglas are so great together and really make things so much fun, every joke and banter lands perfectly. The plot is really cool, a heist on a battle wagon, it doesn't get much better than that. It's an easy flowing movie that is lovable down to the core.
It might not be great cinema but it's great fun!
This is a "caper" film, about what would be a heist in other circumstances. Since the ethics of the perpetrators are those which should have made the authorities make the robbery unnecessary, their act is justified in this situation. This noir western is a bit slick-appearing at some times; but it is physically attractive, has a good cast portraying colorful and somewhat desperate characters, and a strong theme song. Dimitri Tiomkin supplied the very capable score; and Burt Kennedy did a solid job of directing throughout. The very appealing storyline concerns Taw Jackson, played ably by John Wayne, who returns from prison to get back what he can from Bruce Cabot, who stole his ranch and framed him. All he can do is to recruit a group of "mission fighters", beginning with the man who had shot him 5 years earlier, Lomax, played by dynamic Kirk Douglas-and raid the "war wagon"--his enemy's vehicle for transporting gold, a Gatling-Gun-equipped armored stagecoach. Taw's team includes a drunken young dynamite expert he met in prison Robert Walker Jr., Keenan Wynn who is insanely jealous of his young wife, Valora Noland as the wife, Levi Walking Bear in the charismatic person of Howard Keel, his liaison to needed Indian allies, and more. Gene Evans, Joanna Barnes, Ann McRea, Terry Wilson and Frank Mcgrath are among those also doing good professional work in this interesting narrative. Only Noland is a bit weak in this cast. There are some humorous lines and interesting character moments as Wayne assembles his group and plots an attack worthy of "The Dirty Dozen" or "Where Eagles Dare", involving trees that fall at the right moment, Indians faking an attack as a diversion, dynamite used to block off access to a bridge, and a log that swings down and opens the rolling piggy bank violently. What happens after this successful robbery leads to a compromised denouement and ending; but the film is vividly put together, professionally mounted and decently scripted by Clair Huffaker from his own novel. The film stands as a reminder of what any well-made film about an ethical central character can provide relative to any un-ethical and not-fictional man's story competing for a cinema viewer's attention. Moments such as Wayne's visit to his ranch and his talk with the man who stole it, the recruiting of Lomax, the relations of the group, and the raid itself are all memorable. Underrated and always visually interesting.
Good, while not John Wayne at his best, this western, costarring Kirk Douglas and directed by Burt Kennedy, does have plenty of laughs and action.
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