The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger is a 2013 American Western action flick with elements of comedy directed by Gore Verbinski. Armie Hammer stars as the eponymous hero with Johnny Depp playing his Native American sidekick Tonto. The movie is based on the radio show originally conceived in 1933 which is said to be inspired by real life Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes, to whom the book “The Lone Star Ranger” by Zane Grey. Later a series of books and a successful iconic tv series was also spawned by this legend. William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, Ruth Wilson, James Badge Dale, Tom Wilkinson and Helena Bonham Carter also are featured in supporting roles.

On paper this movie should have become another hit for Depp. It has all the elements of a successful blockbuster but it fails. The movie starts off in 1933 with an aged Tonto meeting a young boy, who idolizes The Loner Ranger, at a sideshow in a San Francisco fair. Tonto goes on to narrate the story of how he met young lawyer John Reed – Tonto was being transported in a train along with dangerous outlaw Butch Cavendish, who is heading for his hanging after being captured by John’s brother Texas Ranger Dan Reed. Enroute Butch’s gang rescues him derails the train. Tonto is jailed and Dan deputizes John as a Texas Ranger, and with six others, they go after the Cavendish gang. The rangers are betrayed by one among them, Collins, and they are ambushed in the desert and killed by Cavendish’s men and Butch cuts out and eat’s Dan’s heart. John however was unconscious after hitting his head and was not killed. Tonto, who escaped from his cell, comes across the dead bodies and prepares to bury them all, including John but a white “spirit horse” arrives and awakens John as a “spirit walker”, and Tonto explains John cannot be killed in battle. Tonto believes that Cavendish is a “wendigo” and ss John is thought to be dead, he wears a mask to protect his identity from his enemies. Tonto gives John a silver bullet made from the fallen Rangers’ badges and tells him to use it on Cavendish.

They go to a brother where they find out that Collins & Dan fought over a silver rock Meanwhile, Cavendish’s men, disguised as Comanches, raid frontier settlements. John and Tonto arrive after raiders abduct Dan’s widow and son, Rebecca and Danny. Regretting his earlier actions, Collins attempts to help Rebecca and Danny escape but is shot dead by Cole, who rescues them. Claiming the raiders are hostile Comanches, Cole announces the continued construction of the railroad and dispatches United States Cavalry Captain Jay Fuller to exterminate the Comanche. John & Tonto are captured by a Comanche tribe after the pair finds railroad tracks in Indian territory. The tribe leader who questions John then reveals Tonto’s story; as a boy Tonto had rescued Cavendish and Cole from near-death and showed them the location of a silver mine, in exchange for a pretty gold pocket watch. The men murdered the tribe to keep the mine a secret, leaving Tonto with great guilt making himself believe that the men were possessed by evil spirits within the silver and vowed to find and kill them both. Tonto became an outcast wearing his dead pet crow on his head. The two of them are bried in the sand upto the neck just as the cavalry attacks the Comanche. The spirit horse helps John & Tonto escape and they make their way to the silver mine where they defeat Cavendish’s men and capture him.

Tonto demands that John use the silver bullet to kill Cavendish, but John refuses and tells Tonto what the Comanche chief told him. Tonto attempts to kill Cavendish, but John knocks him unconscious and brings in Cavendish alive and hands him over to Cole. It is then that Cole’s role in the silver mining operation is revealed and Fuller, fearing that he attacked the Comanche for made up reasons will cause him to be labelled a war criminal, joins Cole. Rebecca and Danny are held hostage, and John is taken back to the silver mine to be executed. However, Tonto rescues him and the two flee as the Comanche attack and are massacred by the cavalry. Realizing that Cole is too powerful to be taken down lawfully, John dons the mask again. Cole reveals his true plan of taking over the railway company and use the mined silver to gain more power. John & Tonto steal steal nitroglycerin and use it to destroy a railroad bridge. With some help from Red, Tonto steals the train with the silver, and Cole, Cavendish and Fuller pursue him in a second train on which Rebecca and Danny are being held captive. Riding the horse, John pursues both trains. Furious chases, fantastic fight scenes on the trains Cavendish is killed while Fuller jumps off the train and Rebecca and Danny are rescued. Tonto reveals who he is to Cole before the latter falls down to the river and drowns and is buried by the silver ore. John is praised and hailed by the town as a hero and offer him a law-enforcement position. However he declines and rides off to be joined by Tonto, after saying farewell to Rebecca and Danny. As the narration ends, the boy sees Tonto has disappeared and only a live crow remains. As the credits role, we see the elderly Tonto wearing a suit and carrying a suitcase walking through a canyon.

The movie has a long boring phase where I couldn’t care less as to what happens and wanted to stop watching it. I thought they started well and ended with a lot of action & excitement. Johnny Depp is amazing as usual and some parts of it were really good. On a budge of around $250 mil, this production problems plagued film only pulled in $260.50 million, making it a huge flop for that kind of cash. Still worth giving it a go just for the legend. 6.5 outta 10!

RIP Nelson Mandela

After a prolonged illness due to a lung infection South African anti-apartheid hero, former President Nelson Mandela has died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 95. Plunging his nation and the world into mourning for a man hailed by global leaders as a moral giant, his death was announced by current President Jacob Zuma. Although Mandela had been frail and ailing for nearly a year, his death has surely shaken South Africa and most of the world who adored the Nobel Peace laureate. Tributes began flooding in almost immediately for a man who was an iconic global symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.

Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority apartheid government – a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most respected and loved figures. He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960, but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the country’s white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later. He was elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 and retired in 1999. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honor he shared with FW de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who released from jail arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner. As president, Mandela faced the monumental task of forging a new nation from the deep racial injustices left over from the apartheid era, making reconciliation the theme of his time in office. In retirement, he shifted his energies to battling South Africa’s AIDS crisis, a struggle that became personal when he lost his only surviving son to the disease in 2005.

Mandela’s last major appearance on the global stage came in 2010 when he attended the championship match of the soccer World Cup, where he received a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 at the stadium in Soweto, the neighborhood in which he cut his teeth as a resistance leader.