American Bandits – Frank and Jesse James

I like westerns, and I am fascinated by Jesse and Frank James and other outlaws of that time.
I no longer feel that they were heroes, but bad men who felt justified in doing wrong things. They just usually picked targets people didn’t mind seeing robbed.

I saw this DVD and I figured on enjoying another take on the story of the James Brothers. I was really wrong. American Bandits is a western movie about outlaws double crossing each other and the “Good guys” winning the day and the girls. Fred Olen Ray took this tale and tossed Jesse and Frank James in as characters, though what happens here has almost nothing to do with fact or the real lives of these men. It drives me crazy when real people are fictionalized to the point that they are caricatures of the reality.

Fred Olen Ray wrote, directed and produced this film and I have to say, he should have hired someone to edit the script.  The dialogue was beyond cliched and no one in the film is realistic in the least. They filmed in the Grand Canyon area of the country and as far as I recall the James Gang never went that far west. Why not shoot in Missouri or somewhere else they actually operated?

The acting was very lackluster as well. Peter Fonda had one scene and it was enough to put his name on the jacket. No one else I recognized and as it turns out it is most likely because they aren’t very good actors.

This movie wasn’t very good, but at least it was long. 88 minutes felt like three hours.

Want a great James Gang movie?
Buy The Long Riders