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American Outlaws

Director:Les Mayfield
Writers:Roderick Taylor and John Rogers
Warner Bros.; PG-13; 105 minutes
Cast:Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, Ali Larter

Back in their day, rebel gunman Jesse James and his crew must have had a spectacular presence, existing as potent rumor and hearsay in a time before mass media. American Outlaws arrives 150 years after the fact, bringing with it a blandly populist sensibility. The tale of six-shooters and rough riders entertains, but without any signature touches. The James brothers and their cousins return from the losing side of a Civil War to find a crooked railroad tycoon threatening their Missouri hometown. Irish firebrand Colin Farrell plays Jesse, the wildest of the bunch. He's a solid, hunky actor in a role which should sizzle, but somewhere between the familiar plot and the lopsided script (only brother Frank gets the decent lines) something goes wrong. Ali Larter plays Jesse's obligatory love interest with aplomb, and Gabriel Macht has fun as Frank, the outlaw who quotes Shakespeare.

Those who need their Western fix could do worse than see American Outlaws, but as a general action-adventure, it lacks pizzazz.

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