“Jane Got a Gun” was released on DVD and Blu-ray earlier this week through The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay.
Gavin O’Connor, the guy who directed “Miracle” and “Warrior,” along with writers Brian Duffield (“Insurgent”), Anthony Tambakis (“Warrior”), and co-star Joel Edgerton (writing credits also include “The Gift” and “The Rover”) somehow assembled a fairly impressive cast and let them rot to death in the deserts of New Mexico without much of a purpose.
In the action western, Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) is a mother attempting to live the rest of her days without addressing the ugliness of her past. Her husband Bill “Ham” Hammond (Noah Emmerich) returns home overwhelmed with bullet wounds. He claims that the notorious gang known as the Bishop Boys is coming for them.
After getting her daughter to safety, Jane sets out to find a hired gun to help aid her family, but she knows deep down that her search will be short lived. She turns to the only person she knows who can help them; her former fiancé and currently bitter alcoholic known as Dan Frost (Edgerton). Jane’s past collides with her present as the merciless John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) and his gang intend to finish matters for good.
The most memorable aspect of “Jane Got a Gun” is Rodrigo Santoro as the disposable side character Fitchum. Santoro is perhaps most recognized as the man who portrayed Xerxes in both “300” films. He has a way of transforming into the characters he portrays on screen and this is no different. Rodrigo Santoro is quirky and slimy as Fitchum. Fitchum stands out because he’s filthy inside and out. The character is featured minimally and a co-supporting character at best. He isn’t meant to steal the show and yet he does because everything else about “Jane Got a Gun” is so unbearably dull.
The whorehouse sequence and the final showdown at the Hammond household is as “action packed” as the film gets. While there may be bullets flying through the air, the action seems stiff and forced. Each bullet hole results in nothing more than a blank stare. The film chooses to revolve around the love triangle between Jane, Ham, and Dan. While “Jane Got a Gun” briefly touches on the emotional weight felt between these three characters, you can’t help but feel like it’s also just glossing over a major conflict that could have made a far more interesting storyline.
The rest of the supporting characters, which are all Bishop Boys since no one else is given any screen time, intrigue but aren’t given enough time to flourish. Boyd Holbrook as Vic Owen tries to come off as this sadistic madman, but the one thing that would have solidified the character going off the deep end is taken away in the conclusion of the film. The biggest crime of all is the waste of Ewan McGregor as a villain. McGregor is absolutely forgettable as John Bishop, which is a downright shame. Despite being devoted to getting his hands on Jane, John Bishop is a paper thin adversary.
“Jane Got a Gun” is no “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” and it fails to live up to modern western remakes like “3:10 to Yuma” and “True Grit.” The film is as dry as the desert it’s set in and about as entertaining as a rolling tumbleweed. Despite its impeccable cast and a promising vengeful concept, “Jane Got a Gun” will have you begging to be taken to greener pastures long before its 98-minute duration concludes.