Review: Western ‘Hickok’ is a handsome but wispy take on Wild Bill
For a film about one of the fastest guns in the West, the dramatically lightweight “Hickok” is mighty slow on the draw.
Surveying the period in Wild Bill’s life when he served as marshal of Abilene, Kan., in the 1870s, the attractively shot production has a charismatic lead in the person of Luke Hemsworth (big brother to Chris and Liam) even though he’s swapped the trademark unruly ’stache for a carefully manicured beard.
Turns out Hickok may have left his outlaw days in the past but his womanizing ways are another story. He manages to attract the ire of vengeful saloon proprietor Phil Poe (country music’s Trace Adkins), who puts a bounty on Hickok’s head after the lawman rekindles an old friendship with Poe’s woman (Cameron Richardson).
Checking off all the obligatory western movie tropes, director Timothy Woodward Jr. and writer Michael Lanahan give us little substance beneath that dusty surface.
Although offering decisive evidence that there isn’t a homely Hemsworth in the bunch, Luke (currently starring in HBO’s “Westworld”) doesn’t add anything of character note to the extensive Hickok screen catalog, including portrayals by Jeff Bridges, Sam Elliott and Sam Shepard.
And while seasoned pros Kris Kristofferson and Bruce Dern, as the town mayor and medic respectfully, manage to make their rented costumes look more convincingly lived in, “Hickok” inevitably packs all the true grit of one of those county fair Wild West shows.
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills