run time: 89 mins
considered: Action, Comedy, Drama
director: William Phillips
starring: Paul Gross, Sienna Guillory, Dustin Milligan, Tyler Man, Callum Keith Rennie, Graham Greene, Jay Brazeau, Michael Eklund, Alex Zahara, Jody Raciot, Shawn Campbell, Paul Coeur, Melody B. Choi, Tseng Chang, Laura Bertram
movie summary: The Montana Kid/Sean Rafferty (Paul Gross) is an American Outlaw that has escaped his hanging execution with the aid of his horse. The horse then drags him across the border to a very small town in Canada at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. His macho gunslinger ego is too much for the harmless townsfolk who consider him a celebrity, the guys who tried to kill him are hot on his trail while Sean begins to adjust to live in the town. After feeling betrayed by the local blacksmith Jack (Tyler Mane), Sean spends his time waiting for Jack to find a gun so they can have a showdown.
When Sean’s horse drags him into town he is upside down with the noose still around his neck. He meets Adell (Melody B. Choi) who welcomes him to town and points him to the general store so he can buy bullets. The two clerks in the store don’t carry a lot of supplies so Sean is only able to buy three bullets and a carrot for his horse. While inside the store the blacksmith Jack has taken his horse to his shop to fix a problem with the horses’ hoof, Sean is furious that another man would just take another man’s horse to challenges him to a showdown, only problem is that Jack doesn’t have a gun. The town’s most beautiful single gal Jane Taylor (Sienna Guillory) informs Sean that not everyone has a gun and that they don’t go around looking for a gunfight. He can’t comprehend this so goes back to the general store to buy a gun except they don’t sell them. Jane offers Sean a broken gun in exchange for help to build her windmill. Sean reluctantly agrees because this will be the only way he will get his gun fight.
On the way out to Jane’s place Sean spends the trip talking to his horse about his current situation and how he plans to get out of it. Sean gets the broken gun and begins to fix it when Jonathan (Dustin Milligan), a Canadian Mountie, stops by to check his paperwork and to welcome to the country. Sean offers to be gone by sundown if he can just borrow a gun to have his showdown. Jonathan laughs off the request and informs Sean that he is welcome to stay as long as he doesn’t break the law. Over the next few days Sean helps Jane reconstruct the windmill while going in town to dinner with the different townsfolk. The people take a liking to Sean even though they laugh at his crazy talk about killing 11 people. They try to convince Sean that Jack is a nice guy who doesn’t mean any harm and that he should let his desire for a showdown go.
After attending an evening dance party with Jane, the pair begin to fall in love. To keep up his reputation as a tough guy Sean finishes the windmill, repairs the gun, and packs to leave the town. He tracks Jack down to give him the gun for their showdown, while everyone in town heads down to the watch the duel. When the two finally stand-off from one another Jack’s gun doesn’t fire. Sean is super frustrated at this point because he is beginning to look weak in front of everyone, so attempts to fix the gun again when the group of guys looking for him show up. The town bands together to protect their adopted son Sean, and engage in a gun battle with the bad guys.
my thoughts: Gunless had a limited release here in Canada back in 2010, it was filmed in southern British Columbia and stars well know Canadian actor/director Paul Gross. This movie would have never been a mainstream hit because it has the feeling that it was a made for TV movie production instead of a $10 million motion picture. Gunless is a charming story about the hospitably of the Canadian people while stereotyping the western American gunslinger.
Paul Gross is cast as an American outlaw who acts tough when someone calls him a “common” killer but really has a heart of gold. He really cares about his dad and his dad’s legacy so takes offence to anyone who has anything bad to say about him or his dad. His tough heart also melts when he sees Jane in her blue dress at the dance, he would never admit but he does secretly fall in love with her and has thought about giving up the outlaw life to stay with her. Jane meanwhile has turned into a tough girl since her husband passed away a year earlier. She is smart, sassy, and like every other girl out there just wants to swept off her feet. She appreciates everything Sean does while she fights to keep him grounded.
The rest of the cast is filled with a bunch of actors and actresses that help move the story along without any real character development. Tyler Mane is the only real big name out of the bunch and plays an important part of the story as it moves along to the ending.
At the end of the day though, Gunless will not win everyone over because it doesn’t have an all-star or all the special effects of other Hollywood blockbusters. Those of us out there that appreciate a low-budget comedy that is very Canadian can sit back and have a few chuckles. It is the typical fish out of water story just set at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.
my star rating: 7 out 10
imdb.com: 6.5 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 40% out 100%