Fun fact: The term “Spaghetti Western” comes from the fact that most low-budget western films were made in Italy during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Those films were the lowdown, gritty and grimy ones, far from what was produced in the USA. Who remembers waking up on Sunday morning watching The Lone Ranger or that afternoon tuning in to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly? Those were some colorful movies, but also colorless.
So, you tryna to tell me no brothas or sistas were alive during the old west? There’s more than gold in them hills, there’s history…Black history.
In the new movie The Harder They Fall, this western isn’t spaghetti, it’s soul food. Let’s go!
If you’re ever in a fight and you’re beating one of us, break out…before you get bum-rushed, at the wild wild west!
The Harder They Fall stars an ensemble, all-star cast with the legendary JAY-Z as one of the film’s producers.
In this old western tale, the outlaw Nat Love, played by Jonathan Majors, is out for revenge after experiencing a horrible ordeal as a child.
While hot on his enemy’s trail, Love’s gang unknowingly interferes with a rival crew’s dirty deed, putting them in the crosshairs of a notorious villain’s wrath, and bringing Nat one step closer to his destiny.
Although Western movies have been entertaining, they’ve always followed the same formula and omitted African American characters.
Director Jeymes Samuel changes that narrative by giving us a story based on true Black cowboys and cowgirls who actually existed.
This cast is beyond amazing! Every last one of them understood the assignment.
Idris Elba as Rufus Buck is about as bad-guy as it gets. Every western needs a nefarious villain, and this antagonist fits the saddle.
Regina King as Trudy Smith is truly the baddest chick, and that’s word to Trina. She makes the role her own, representing for the Queens of the west, the old west that is.
Majors continues his onscreen dominance as a major force. His portrayal as Nat Love is up there with the likes of Eastwood, Newman, and Rogers.
Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary serves up sass and strength.
LaKeith Stanfield and the rest of the cast hit you with a right, left, right left you’re toothless, then you’ll say got-dayum they ruthless!
Cinematography along with set design makes you feel like you’ve been put in a time machine and transported to the days of old. It’s an absolutely stunning piece when the mind conceives and production crew achieves.
The Harder They Fall entertains without a doubt, but we can’t ride off into the sunset just yet. This wagon gets stuck in the mud at times.
The plot for the most part is solid, but there are two missteps. That number may seem miniscule, but those two drawbacks are huge.
Although most of Harder isn’t predicable, there is a scene you can see coming faster than a bullet from a Smith and Wesson.
From that point, it changes the trajectory of the remaining film, totally knocking it off course. Once the movie goes in that direction, action scenes must compensate for a failing storyline but the action, as fun as it looks, gets bigger and bigger to the point of over-exaggeration.
The second problem deals with a plot twist. Now, I love a good surprise as much as the next person, but the twist is extremely late which doesn’t give the shock time to build. Had this been revealed in, let’s say, the 2nd act, the protagonist would have a moral dilemma for the duration of the movie, constructing more suspense and tension, adding heightened drama for the audience, and making the 3rd act lethal! Alas, it was squandered.
The Harder They Fall is innovative, though. Not just with a predominately African American cast, but with the choice of music. The selections are fresh and edgy. Some may like a more traditional, old-western score, but sometimes different is good.
All-in-all, The Harder They Fall is a decent watch. Some scenes are rushed, and those two missteps I spoke of definitely hamper it.
Still, I suggest you see this. It’s about history, and it’s history in the making.
Giddyap! Go mosey on over to the couch and turn on Netflix before sundown. I’ll give you to the count of “three”…DRAW!
Watch the trailer below.
What are your thoughts on the film?