Texas Rangers Smirks, Sputters
- Monday, November 26, 2001
Texas Rangers - PG-13
Best for: Mature teens and adults who enjoy old-fashioned Westerns.
What it’s about: The year is 1875, and Texas is a land without justice, vulnerable to renegade outlaws who pillage towns, murder the townspeople and steal cattle. A small group of Texas rangers (James Van Der Beek, Ashton Kutcher, Usher Raymond), led by Leander McNelly (Dylan McDermott), protect and defend the people against the ruthless John King Fisher (Alfred Molina).
After a surprise ambush that almost wipes out the rangers, the men regroup at the estate of Leander's friend, Richard Dukes (Tom Skerritt), and his daughter Caroline (Rachel Leigh Cook), where they relearn how to fight. Robert Patrick and Randy Travis also star.
The good: Having grown up watching “B” Westerns most of my life, I enjoyed this different telling of how the Texas rangers began. McDermott is an accomplished actor who does a good job with the script, but the other actors aren’t as well utilized.
The story has some touching moments, humorous situations and historical tragedy, and McNelly’s belief in God influences the other men.
The not-so-good: Van Der Beek lacks the ability to transcend the smirking preppy he plays on Dawson’s Creek and make us believe he’s a ranger.
Since this is story about fighting outlaws, there’s an abundance of people being killed with knives, guns and explosives. Several men (and one woman) are shown hanging by ropes. The majority of the battles are blood-free, but the violence is intense and realistic.
Offensive language: Mild profanity including the “N”-word, other expletives, a couple of religious profanities, and some sexual innuendo.
Sexual situations: No sexual stations are shown, but some dialogue refers to womanizing. Two men are shown sitting in a bathtub (no nudity is shown).
Violence: Western-style gun violence, hanging and war violence that leads to loss friends and entire families. Yet with all of the killing that takes place, there is little grieving depicted.
Parental advisory: The "PG-13" rating is due to the violence and language, but if you have teens interested in a bit of history about the Texas rangers (and in seeing TV star Van Der Beek), it at least has positive role models and redemptive themes.
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