09 February 2009

DVD: "Outlaw Justice"

Outlaw Justice
Directed by Bill Corcoran
Written by Gene Quintano
Starring Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Travis Tritt, Chad Willett, Jonathan Banks, Special Appearance by Waylon Jennings and Sancho Gracia as Holden
DVD Release Date: 20 May 2003
MPAA Rating: R (For Some Violence)
List Price: $9.98

The Film
Post-Civil War Texas, near the border.  A former gang member, resentful of having been abandoned to serve his time, has begun hunting down his former partners.  The first to fall is Tobey (Jennings), whose son has a dim view of his father's past.  His lust for revenge, though, is strong enough to convince him to accompany his father's surviving partners Tarence and Lee (Kristofferson and Nelson) on their travel to a final showdown.  Along the way, Tarence and Lee do their best to convince Tobey's son--and us--that not every outlaw is a bad guy, and that heroes don't always wear white hats.  It's contrived, but it's impossible not to enjoy Willie's performance.

Outlaw Justice was originally broadcast on TV in the 4:3 aspect ratio in which it was shot, and that's the aspect ratio presented on the DVD.  This is a barebones single-disc release--in fact, the audio mix is 2.0!  You'd best not come into this hoping for any illumination of the story being told, or any anecdotes from the cast because they're not here.  At $9.98 (list price), it's still overpriced for no more than a 94 minute telefilm.

The Recommendation
Serious fans of the Western genre will find this uninspired and cliched, though let's be honest about who the real audience for this film is.  It's fans of the actors themselves, and it's genuinely fun to watch Willie and Kris do their thing.  This film is referenced in the 2000 edition of Waylon Jennings's Never Say Die: Live! album in a conversation with co-star Travis Tritt.  Curiously, that conversation was edited out of the 2006 expanded edition re-release.  Fans of the actors should probably add this to their library (though not at list price, unless you've already decided you like the film that much).  Others should probably just outright pass.

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