Gunless is a satirical comedy western made on a budget of $10 million and starring one of my favourite actors of all time, Paul Gross. Here in this movie he plays The Montana Kid, a hardened outlaw gunslinger from America who finds himself in a small town in Alberta, Canada while on the run from bounty hunters south of the border. It’s a cultural look at the differences between Americans & Canadians. He tries to recuperate but soon finds himself ready for a fight. Covered in muck & mud, he takes sourly to the fact that the local blacksmith Jack Smith (Tyler Mane in a very subdued & timid role, totally unlike the giant that he is) fixed his horse’s shoes without asking him. Furthermore it looks like Smith wants to keep the horse. The Kid challenges the blacksmith to a drawl but there is a problem!
Although the town’s store has bullets no one in the rural town keeps gun. Itching to satisfy his trigger happy self, The Kid strikes a deal with local spitfire Jane (Sienna Guillory) for doing odd jobs & help with some manual labour in exchange for the use of her broken-down pistol. The replacement trigger for the broken gun will take a couple of weeks to arrive so the Kid settles down in the town. He also gets a few fans among the townsfolk who have shotguns but don’t use pistols.
And then there is the local mountie! If you all remember, Paul Gross played the world’s most famous & beloved mountie (the wrestler Jacques Rougeau, Jr. & Duddley Do Right non-withstanding) in the hit series Due South. So it’s a bit odd to see another person play the mountie in the movie. But Corporal Johnathan Kent (played by Dustin Milligan and not Superman’s adopted father) offers little in terms of depth to the movie; initially smitten by Jane he seems to have relented his interests as the Kid seems more of a match for her. He then is seen at the end to be seen as the object of another girl’s affection.
Callum Keith Rennie, appearing as the Montana Kid’s bounty-hunter nemesis, emerges as a welcome villain. When Rennie’s character strides onscreen in his big black hat and announces, “I’ll bleed this town,” the actor exudes enough raw charisma to jolt the movie to life. The arrival of this Western baddie enables Gunless to get at the Western recipes that we all known — the standoffs, the guns blazin’, the Clint Eastwood “This is my path, I am what I do” speeches. In the end the townfolk side with the Kid and get rid of the bounty hunters with the help of the local mounties, who chase them back across the border.
It’s a welcome thing to see both Gross & Rennie reunite on the big screen after those two seasons on Due South. I especially liked seeing Tyler Mane, who up until now was best known for playing serial killer Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween I & II remakes and as Sabretooth in X-Men and rarely had any speaking roles. Don’t expect much from this film, there’s little character building and the plot & storyline is predictable, and you can still enjoy it. 6 outta 10 but a 10 for M/s Paul Gross & Callum Keith Rennnie.