Movie Review: The Harder They Fall

The Harder They Fall (2021) - IMDb

credit: The Harder They Fall

It does feel as though this movie was bound to attract a bit of criticism since one doesn’t hear about a lot of bank robbers, criminals, and gunslingers that lived back in the days of the old west. The thing is, Oklahoma was known to have entire communities and towns that were built by and for people of color, so it wasn’t that uncommon. There were a few things that people were bound to see in this movie, such as pretty much any Caucasian individual being seen as foolish, duplicitous, or otherwise weak compared to their colored counterparts. For the sake of the story, it’s easy to ignore this since the movie is pretty entertaining, given that it’s a revenge story that takes off immediately and doesn’t slow down all that much from point A to B. The killing of a preacher and his wife, and the marking of his son, stands out as a rather brutal way to start things off, but Rufus Buck is quickly established as a bad guy who’s not apologetic about what he does in any way, shape, or form. 

The Harder They Fall Review': A Vicious And Unapologetic Action Western –  Deadline

credit: The Harder They Fall

It’s a classic western revenge story with people of color, simply put. And it’s a lot of fun. 

Letting go of the fact that anyone who’s not a person of color is seen as an out-and-out fool or a racist that ‘deserves what they get’, this movie is actually a good deal of fun since Nat Love comes out as a man on a mission to claim the vengeance he wanted from boyhood. Instead of becoming a righteous avenger, however, he became another outlaw, stealing from outlaws in order to fund his gang’s activities and making enemies along the way. When two of his gang waylay another gang, killing all but one, they find out that the money they’re stealing was meant to go to the release of Rufus Buck, the notorious outlaw that killed Nat’s family when he was a boy and left a deep cross scar etched into his forehead.  

Fans definitely loved the movie. 

The fact that it scored 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes can mean a lot or can mean very little since what critics think tends to mean something to fans, or it means nothing since a lot of people differ in their opinion of what critics say. But the fact is that this is a fun movie since it takes on a very familiar feel when Nat makes his way into town only to be nearly jilted by his former lover and then taken into custody by a marshal that would just as soon shoot him as arrest him. His men are all too happy to tell the marshal otherwise, but later on, down the road, it’s revealed that Nat and the marshal are working together, and he doesn’t want to get his gang involved. Of course, that’s not how a gang works in this movie since his companions catch up to him and remind Nat that they’re in this fight no matter how deadly it’s going to be. The bravado that’s mixed in with the surety that this is a death sentence waiting to be carried out makes it clear that no one thinks they’re coming out alive. 

The Harder They Fall' Review: A New Look for the Old West - The New York  Times

credit: The Harder They Fall

As shootout movies go, this is still one of those that makes a person roll their eyes. 

There are plenty of moments in this movie that might make a person roll their eyes since one can’t help but think that there are several moments when anyone in this movie could die and thereby spoil the overall effect. But then, good shoot ’em up movies are bound to have plenty of situations in which the speed and accuracy of a gunslinger are always going to be perfect and almost supernatural. This movie doesn’t disappoint in this regard since it does showcase the skills of the gunslingers and the deadly accuracy that they use to fight one another. The hand-to-hand combat that’s used between the ladies of the bunch is impressive as well since fighting in a haberdashery is bound to be a little bit hazardous. 

When all is said and done, this movie was well written. 

Some folks might not want to watch this movie for their own reasons, but the truth is it’s put together in a way that makes it easy to enjoy. Trying to find any reason not to like this is kind of tough since it has enough action to be entertaining and just enough drama to be intriguing. The twist at the end feels like it came too late to be of any real value, but that’s easy to overlook as one continues to watch the movie to the end. It’s fair to say that it would warrant another movie if such had been the plan. 

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