Angel and the Badman
by Phil Boatwright

On DVD, this remake of the John Wayne/Gail Russell western follows the 1947 version closely, with just the subtlest of changes. She's a peace-loving/gun-hating Quaker, he's a fierce gunman taken by her beauty. After being wounded in a gunfight, he recoups at her family's farm and tries to resist falling in love with this gentle soul. Will he give up his gunslinger ways and become a farmer?

The pacing is off, the theme muddled (he seduces her and she is willing to go away with him if that's what it takes), and much of the dialogue is as corny as a B-western-Saturday-morning-serial. But what this film really does is point out the difference between a direct-to-DVD movie actor and a superstar legend. Lou Diamond Phillips is a solid actor, but he just can't step into John Wayne's boots. And Deborah Kara Unger doesn't even try to recapture the vulnerability Gail Russell displayed on screen. Nor is there the chemistry found between the leads that Wayne and Russell relayed. The old film is not a perfect movie, but it's close. This one is okay if you can't find the original

Rated PG-13 for opening brutal shoot-em-ups and for a brief, suggestive scene where the lead begins to undress the lady, implying that they are sleep together.