The Alamo directed by John Lee Hancock, written by Hancock, Leslie Bohem and Stephen Gaghan, produced by Brian Grazer, Mark Johnson and Ron Howard, with Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric and Patrick Wilson. 120 minutes. A Disney release. Rating: NN Rating: NN
History buffs expecting a tribute to the famous 13-day struggle for Texan liberty, prepare to be disappointed. Director John Lee Hancock gives us the battle of the glaring co-stars instead. In one corner, struggling mightily under his scene-stealing facial hair, is Dennis Quaid as General Sam Houston. In another, Jason "Perma-scowl" Patric plays renowned swordsman Jim Bowie, his raspy voice a disturbing blend of Jack Klugman and Julie Kavner. Finally, meet Broadway actor Patrick Wilson as Col. William Travis. When he's not giving Jim the stink-eye, you'll find him looking away disgustedly. Perhaps he's getting ready for the reviews?
We should have known there was trouble when the big-name star (Russell Crowe) and acclaimed director (Ron Howard, co-producer) suddenly backed out and the scheduled Christmas release was delayed until April.
It's not difficult to see why the film was held back.
Though some may fault its inaccuracies - it lies somewhere between Pearl Harbor and Titanic on the believability scale - it's only the film's most over-the-top moments that give it any flavour.
Otherwise, it's all emotionally distant heroes, yawn-inducing pacing and curiously dull battle scenes - blood-free, courtesy of Disney's desire to give it family-friendly stamp.
But, wait, there's a winner somewhere in this fight. As legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett, Billy Bob Thornton gleefully provides a much-needed dose of the good-ol'-boy charm and "never say die" charisma found in the 1960 John Wayne original.
Aside from him, The Alamo's completely forgettable.