The story of Billy the Kid is legendary. He was notorious for gambling cattle rustling and murder. He is the subject of numerous books and movies - some are pretty factual while others are mostly fictitious with a few details thrown in for accuracy. The latest in a long line of films called The Kid falls into the latter category. It is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.
The opens not with the notorious kid but with a young boy named Rio Cutler (newcomer Jake Schur) who kills his own father after watching him beat Rio's mother to death. Rio and his sister Sara (Leila George; Mortal Engines) flee as their uncle (Chris Pratt; Guardians of the Galaxy) - their father's brother - chase them wanting vengeance. However, they manage to escape and find a shed to sleep in. When they wake up they find themselves surrounded by Billy the Kid (Dane DeHaan; The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and his gang. While deciding what to do with them, Billy finds them trapped by Sheriff Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke; Training Day) and his deputies and they surrender.
On the way to Santa Fe, Billy and Rio strike up an unusual friendship with Rio wanting to help Billy escape. Once in Santa Fe Rio and Sara are confronted with their Uncle who takes Sara and throws Rio out. Wanting to know where Sara is being taken, Rio gets himself arrested in order to request the aid of Billy, who supposedly knows where Rio's Uncle went. Billy and Rio then escape jail and head to Fort Sumner where Billy is eventually shot and killed by Pat Garrett. Desperate, Rio goes to Garrett, confesses to killing his father and begs Garrett to help him find his sister which he does. After a showdown, Garrett kills their Uncle and Sara and Rio are set free to go start a new life.
Directed by Vincent D'Onofrio (Men in Black) - who happens to be George's father - the movie suffers from a disjointed script that seems to be all over the place. The beginning starts slow and the whole film moves at a snail's pace. It's difficult at times to keep up with all the various storylines that are intersecting. D'Onofrio does his best but the source material needed a rewrite at the very least. Interestingly though, the production managed to assemble a fairly strong cast (perhaps because D'Onofrio called in a few favors maybe?).
Leading this group is Hawke is one of the bright spots throughout. His outwardly "holier than thou" exterior masks a slightly different underbelly; one that has tangled with trouble and that sometimes still grapples with the grey areas between right and wrong. Pratt shows a different side than we usually see from him. He is harsher and meaner and doesn't crack even a smile once the entire time. George is decent with the cliched lines she recites and Schur does a good job for his first role. DeHaan is mean and charming but reminded me of a young Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition quality which showcases the New Mexico wilderness beautifully. The pictures sharp and colors are deep and true. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is one of the best parts of the movie. Gunshots assault your ears from all sides and dialogue is clear. The only extra on the Blu-ray is a 9 minute "making of" that includes cast and crew interviews.
While the concept is interesting enough the script doesn't live up to the idea and most of the project simply falls flat. The cast is more than capable but even they can't pull out a winner from this corral.