Ranger and Superman continue to dance in the bizarre clutch
of American popular culture.
the world believed a man could fly after the release of Superman:
The Movie, and just a few years later 1981 saw The
Legend of The Lone Ranger shot in the same soft focus
style. Just to prove the odd connection between the two characters,
the WB found a hit last year with Smallville
and now we've got The WB's Tigerbeat-cast version of The
Lone Ranger. The main difference between now and the last
time these two emerged on the scene is that the Lone Ranger
movie was the good one this time around.
starts, we ride into town with a young law student, Luke Hartman,
rolling into a tiny little Texas town called Dallas. Right
away he stumbles upon a bunch of your run-of-the-mill ruffians
manhandling a beautiful squaw, Alope. He tries to break things
up, claiming one of his law books contains a hidden gun.
his bluff backfires on him things are broken up, and while
he checks on Alope's condition, Luke is knocked down by a
Bruce Lee-style leaping kick from her brother, Tonto. At this
point, I figured we were looking at some bizarre cross between
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Kung Fu,
but things got better from there.
drops in a week early on his brother Harmon, a shopkeeper
and a Texas Ranger. After the requisite "Governments make
laws, Men make justice" conversation, Harmon heads out after
some Regulators with Luke following against his brother's
us a chance to cut back to Dallas to meet Harmon's hardworking
wife and her superhot friend, Emily, who is also the editor
of the town paper, setting up some wacky Reporter/Secret Identity
hijinks if this is ever picked up as a series.
by the campfire Luke discovers he is a natural with a six
shooter, but it does him and the others no good when they
are double crossed by Kansas City, one of the rangers, who
leads the Regulators back to the camp for a massacre. Luke
survives and is found by Tonto, who buries the Rangers and
brings the injured Luke back to his tribe. Predictably Luke
is nursed back to health by Alope, vows vengeance, goes on
a visionquest that brings him his spirit guide, Silver, and
learns the ways of the Apache. He is given a mask made from
his dead brother's vest by shaman Kulakinah (supercool Wes
Studi) so that he may scare evil men, in a speech just next
door to the classic "Superstitious and cowardly lot" chestnut.
Man gets some supplies from his brother's store but is seen
by his nephew and sister-in-law. Silver stops him from killing
Kansas City but in a surprise moment for an obvious pilot,
Kansas City is eventually dispatched, robbing us of a great
reccurring villain. Luke decides to stay in Dallas instead
of returning to Boston, he accepts that he is a Lone Ranger
and Tonto accepts that Luke is his Kemosabe.
an instant classic? No. Is it fun? Yes.
of saddling the pretty cast with period dialogue, The Lone
Ranger pulls a Butch and Sundance and lets our heroes
speak in the idiom of the day. The idea of a Lone Ranger who
offhandedly refers to Tonto as "man" appeals to me. All the
elements are there to make this a fun Western series. There's
a good looking cast and enough subplots to sustain at least
one season just from this one pilot.
Michael Murray (from Gilmore Girls and Dawson's
Creek) makes his Brad Pitt wanna-be qualities work both
as the good boy Luke and the avenging Masked Man. If the show
is picked up, the main plot line should be the struggle between
the civilized law student of Luke and the uncivilized Lone
Ranger, with a girl for each. A perfect Betty and Veronica
of me really wants this to get picked up as a series but the
other part of me is sure that they'll screw it up even worse
than they have with Smallville. Overall it was a fun
two hours and hopefully there'll be more to come.