As with the original 1957 Version, James Mangold’s 2007 remake concerns down-on-his-luck rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) who, in order to earn money for his family, volunteers to take the captured gang leader Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to be transported away aboard the 3: 10 train to Yuma, all the while perused by Wade’s gang.
Concerning the central performances, which made the original so memorable, Bale is perhaps given a more fleshed out character and more motivation to carry out his mission, all of which makes the ending more tense and dramatic. In this version, his desperation is made more apparent and this, combined with the increased danger he faces from Wade’s gang, makes the stakes higher.
And Russell Crowe clearly has a blast channelling Glenn Ford’s original incarnation; Crowe’s Wade is a suitably swaggering, smiling, smarmy and sure footed soul (a symphony of “s” adjectives there!), though he doesn’t have quite the same charisma as Glenn Ford.
Although not as enjoyable as the 1957 version, this film is longer, moodier, darker and more dangerous; the perusing gang is appropriately more threatening and there is plenty of violence to be found in this version. The stakes are higher, the danger is more real, helped in no small part by Ben Foster’s Charlie Prince, and Mangold focuses a lot more on the psychological battle between the two men.
Marco Beltrami’s music is great and Phedon Papamichael’s cinematography is suitably stunning and magnificent.
While not as enjoyable as the original 1957 version, Mangold’s 3: 10 to Yuma is darker, moodier and with more of a psychological edge. There are great action scenes too. A worthy remake indeed.
★ ★ ★ ★