James Mangold has never been a filmmaker to pigeonhole himself in one particular genre, even if he’s stayed almost exclusively in blockbuster territory for more than a decade, with Tom Cruise’s Knight and Day, The Wolverine, Logan, and Indiana Jones 5 accounting for four of his five most recent features.
Speaking of Hugh Jackman’s swansong, turning the iconic mutant’s cinematic exit into a modernized neo-Western was a masterstroke, and the quality of the X-Men spinoff was definitely helped by the fact Mangold already had Cop Land and 3:10 to Yuma under his belt, both of which possess many stylistic and thematic similarities to Logan.
The latter in particular is one of the most highly-regarded remakes of the 21st Century, with the updated version of the 1957 classic landing an 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes and two Academy Award nominations, even if it failed to make much of a dent at the box office.
The plot is simple enough, following Christian Bale’s financially-challenged war veteran and rancher volunteering to escort Russell Crowe’s dangerous outlaw to the titular locomotive so he can be transported to trial. Naturally, the criminal’s gang want their leader back, setting the stage for a frenetic pursuit through the dusty plains of Arizona.
A defiantly old school Western that boasts top-notch performances, crunching action sequences, and plenty of great character beats, 3:10 to Yuma is a rare remake that’s far superior to the original. HBO subscribers certainly can’t get enough of it this weekend, with the rollicking oater ranking as one of the platform’s ten most-watched titles in the United States, as per FlixPatrol.