The Baytown Outlaws (2012)

Coming across like The Dukes of Hazard on acid, The Baytown Outlaws is a caper that offers an entertaining but violent 90 minutes of mayhem.

This knockabout comedy has much to recommend it. The three leads are extremely engaging and the set pieces are shot with much flair. Stylistically it owes much to films like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as the seemingly simple job escalates into something far more complicated (and, for the viewer, comic). However, what ends as a rough and ready comedy does not begin that way.

From the off, The Baytown Outlaws establishes itself as a vicious, tough, grindhouse movie. The titular outlaws are presented as despicable and unforgiving. The three hillbillies demonstrate extremely violent tendencies which make their ultimate redemption very hard to swallow.

This is all handled in a comic book manner and the director is clearly influenced by other directors who prove to be a hard act to follow. Quentin Tarantino deserves a nod with the film’s Kill Bill premise, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick Ass presence is felt and the twisty turny plot owes much, as has been said, to Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock. All very good touchstones, but The Baytown Outlaws fails to live up to them.

The actors playing the Oodie brothers are all engaging, particularly Daniel Cudmore. He brings much pathos to his mute giant who talks through a speak and spell hanging round his neck like a mutant Stephen Hawking. Eva Longoria, fresh from Desperate Housewives, has no business being in the film and Billy Bob Thornton is on auto pilot, taking a break from his more taxing roles. That said, the movie zips along at quite a pace and provides great set pieces involving native Americans and red hot biker chicks with attitude.

An entertaining 90 minutes then which will not live long in your memory but could act as a springboard for the lead actors.

Pesky Pig: Thomas Sangster, British child actor who was in such films as Nanny McPhee and Love Actually, plays a key role as the kidnapped youngster. Who’d have thought it!
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