So I remember seeing a preview for this Western thriller at some point in 2002 (I guess), thinking that it looked really good and spooky. But then I missed seeing it for years, so it's always been one I've been meaning to go back and check out, which I finally did last night. Well, about a half hour in, I realized that I'd seen it before. I think I must have stumbled across it on late night cable sometime, and just caught it from midway or something.
Oh well, it's a Ron Howard movie, which should tell you that it's aggressively competent. The plot is essentially a ripoff of the Searchers: a group of Indians kidnap a white girl, and Tommy Lee Jones heads off to rescue her.
The good: The Indian villain is a very un-PC nasty savage son of a bitch, which lends the film a thriller feel that is genuinely creepy at times. He's not only kidnapping white girls to sell into Mexico, but he's some sort of voodoo witch doctor who rips out hearts and mixes the blood with snake poison and shit. The cinematography also sets up kind of a ghost story/horror vibe, especially true in the beginning when Howard is setting up the kidnapping.
Anyway, so it's sorta two movies: one good half blending Western and thriller motifs; one mediocre half offering up an homage to a (way better) Western classic.