To simply say this film is about a Clint Eastwoodesque cowboy on the other side of the law who forcibly captures a seemingly naive English woman and hurls her over the back of his horse hoping to have his way with her, doesn't really do it justice. Good For Nothing is not your typical spaghetti western, there is a lot more sauce and much less cheese than you would think. You're watching the vulnerability of the most grizzled of outlaws being melted into a tenderfoot at the hands of a curvaceous fair skinned city slicker. His manhood is literally and figuratively taken away from him when he can't perform during his attempt to "poke" his newly acquired female treasure.
Good For Nothing glides across the scenic landscapes of New Zealand where it was filmed, painting a stunning sun stroked canvas in which the typical wild west stereotypes are turned on it's ear. The moment Inge Rademeyer steps off the train as the soon to be captive Isabella she steals the show. She takes her lumps as the damsel in distress but the dirt and grime doesn't take away from her sex appeal as you wonder if she is ever going make it to her Uncle's house after her father's death. Cohen Holloway plays it straight as The Man, and although he is gruff and thick skinned he grows as an actor on screen along with his character.
Director Mike Wallis has crafted a most unorthodox medley of action, romance, and comedy, against the backdrop of a straight forward frontier Western. There is plenty of violence for fans of the genre, guns are fired and blood is spilled. One of the bodies that is left behind causes an good ole' posse to tail the lady thief and the lady herself, who is mistaken as whore. The pursuit adds the right amount of suspense as The Man attempts to figure out why can’t function below the belt by visiting medicine men of Asian and Native American descent. It’s not as if Wallis is reinventing the wheel but his knowledge of the genre is apparent and you seems like his time working closely with the likes of James Cameron and Peter Jackson have paid off.
The dialogue is sparse but relevant giving the actors a chance to actually harness their craft on screen before you. When The Man storms into a doctor’s office under the guise of a serious sequence and utters the phrase “My dick is broke.” you can’t help but chuckle. The methodical exchanges and well planned visuals are accompanied by some impressive melodic sounds courtesy John Psathas and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The music only adds to the illusion that you are hiding in the brush watching these interesting characters in this most curious predicament.
Good For Nothing is not going to break box office records and may not be the best Western you’ll ever see, but any fan of Westerns can easily note the appreciation that Wallis has for the genre. He understands what is required of of taking on a Western and also knows how far you can push it without upsetting the nostalgia fans are accustomed to. Interested to see what Wallis is going to dig his spurs into next, and whatever it is I hope that his companion Inge Rademeyer is attached to it. Good For Nothing opens March 9th in select theaters.