Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Zoe Bell, Natalie Martinez, Eva Longoria, Paul Wesley, Daniel Cudmore, Agnes Bruckner, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Andre Braugher, Clayne Crawford, Travis Fimmel.
Running Time: 98 minutes
Synopsis: After her ex-husband Carlos shoots Celeste three times in the gut, it’s time to play dirty. In the fight for her godson, Rob, she hires three outlawed and redneck brothers to bring him back to her. But nothing can be that simple in the South. What begins as a small rescue mission rises to a southern battle royal. This odd team must shoot their way through gorgeous female assassins, Native American hunters, Federal agents, and a whole lot of metal coming after them, while protecting Celeste’s innocent child.
The official (and spoilerish) synopsis above, pretty much rams in as much as information as possible about the simple-enough plot for co-writer and director Barry Battles’ ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ debut action flick, THE BAYTOWN OUTLAWS. The film, which mainly centres on a trio of ‘hick’ brothers and their way of making a living in the deep south by taking out the towns trash, is a fun, brash and bonkers film. One that opens with an explosive shoot-out involving the three siblings pulling-up at a drugs den and blowing away some dealers – only to find they’ve hit the wrong house. A pretty irrelevant set-up in an attempt to show the backward mentality of the clan, yet the more we get to know them, they seem to have their free-thinking heads screwed on and are fiercely loyal to one another.
Certainly the best thing about Battles’ directorial debut is the said lead trio. Clayne Crawford, Travis Fimmel and Daniel Cudmore (playing mute man-mountain Lincoln) are the pretty damn likeable stand-outs in a film filled with familiar faces, giving a lot of heart to the little story there is. However, that’s the main problem on the whole, as there is little room left (and too little time spent) for many of the supporting cameos to make their mark and as many characters as there are – they are all likeable too! With Eva Longoria’s hot-pants wearing stunner arriving with her plea to free her godson from Billy Bob Thornton’s villainous kingpin Carlos, even he’s hard not to like when he’s firing amusing insults (and bullets) at his throwaway goons as the Oodie brothers eventually set out on their mission.
I dare you not to like, and closely observe, Zoe Bell’s biker posse of scantily-clad ‘whore assassins’ as they stunningly demonstrate their sexy skills before being cheaply and viciously discarded…such a waste but a feast for the eyes. If you thought Michael Bay likes the camera to linger a little long on parts of the female anatomy, wait ’til you see these scenes but then again, I’m not complaining. Add Andre Braugher’s local sheriff-with-a-secret and Paul Wesley’s recently-arrived Fed butting heads over the case to finally put these boys out of business, means there is little time to pause for breath, never mind making the basic story consistent and emotive.
Come the finale, after what we’ve been through, THE BAYTOWN OUTLAWS runs out of steam in the final third. Constantly upping the ante but unable to do so at the films most critical stage. Yes, the film is a blast at times but it’s hardly memorable and falls away but maybe perfect for a boozy night in with pizza and friends and it almost feels like Battles was aiming for that all along. Fun but ultimately forgettable.
EXTRAS: Behind-the-scenes ‘Making Of’ with cast and crew, Theatrical Trailer, Original Trailer.