Judge David Johnson is the fastest draw in Hillsborough County.
Mount up. Or not.
It's a Western. About a marshal who's hell-bent on revenge. And by gosh he's going to get it.
Facts of the Case
U.S. Marshal Canfield (Bob Handegan) is renowned through the Wild West (not an actual town) as a supreme bad-ass. Women want him, men want to be him, so on and so forth, except for one guy who hates his guts and drunkenly assaults and kidnaps Canfield's wife, Dixie. And to piss the Marshal off even more, he scoops up his two foster sons.
Naturally, Canfield goes bug-nuts crazy and sets off on a one-man dragnet, tracking the bad guys across savage terrain and shooting guns at anyone who gets in his way. All of this tracking and shooting and grimacing culminates in the face-off we've all (i.e., the director's extended family) been waiting for: the showdown!
I can appreciate a simple tale of revenge. I'm all for a prone-to-violence Alpha male in a cowboy hat riding around on a horse and opening fire on horse thieves. And a plucky leading lady that talks trash? Sign me up. That's all there in The Showdown and, before I go any further, this movie will more than appeal to viewers like my grandfather, someone who just wants to watch an old-fashioned Western and doesn't put much stock in stuff like acting.
Which is good, because the acting in The Showdown is godforsaken. And pick your god. The Judeo-Christian God? Any of a multitude of ancient pagan gods? Saturn, Zeus, Ares, Gozer? All of them would surely forsake what passes for acting here. Really, it's utterly laughable and if the film didn't try incredibly hard to take itself seriously, you'd be looking at iconic comedy. Alas, no one else is in the joke and the spectacle is merely painful. I don't want to be a dick either because it's obvious the cast gave it the old college try, but it appears it was The College of Atrocious Line-readings that was their alma mater. Regardless, I wish them all well as they pursue a healthy career in the entertainment industry, be it in catering or car rental services.
Bob Handegan probably fares the best, and that's a small win considering he's the main character, but his bad guy counterpart is ridiculous and, as such, utterly lacking in malevolence or intimidation and Dixie is even worse.
Again, the story isn't this epic piece of screenwriting and I'm down with the simplicity, though the brutal execution by the performers is an unfortunate assault on the credibility of the film. Even the sporadic gunplay—which is quite sporadic—can't clean out the vile taste of the speaking parts.
The DVD looks fine in its 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and the 2.0 stereo sound is up to the task. Extras: commentary from writer/director Jim Conover, bloopers, on-set footage, and a stills gallery.
I stand by my belief that old-timers with eased standards will enjoy The Showdown, but for everyone else there's not much to recommend here.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: North American Motion Pictures
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