Starring: Luke Hemsworth, Kris Kristofferson and Trace Adkins
Directed by: Timothy Woodward Jr.
The legendary story of gunslinger and lawman Wild Bill Hickok who is tasked with taming a wild cow-town in the West. He has to deliver his brand of rough justice as he tries to make Abilene a safer place to be and goes nose to nose with the powerful Phil Poe and his group of loyal followers.
Hickok is a movie that follows a rather routine and rigid formula as so many western movies do but I found this movie to be quite entertaining and I enjoyed the characters that were on display. Luke Hemsworth played title character Wild Bill Hickok as he adds a little more diversity into his acting career and for the most part did a fairly decent job with the character. Wild Bill Hickok was a man that was the fastest gunslinger around and often got into trouble with the law so would often find himself moving from town to town until he arrived in Abilene. The Mayor of the town, played by Kris Kristofferson, offers him the position of Marshall to try and clean up Abilene to make it a better place to live and do business. Bill Hickok makes some abrupt changes which ultimately upsets local feared businessman Phil Poe. Hickok manages to find himself some help in order to keep the peace within the town and remove the trouble makers.
I enjoyed the small part that Kris Kristofferson had as he played an ageing Mayor of a town that has spiralled out of his control. Country superstar Trace Adkins who has come under a substantial amount of criticism online for his performance as Phil Poe was actually pretty decent. He’s a giant of a man who has an incredibly deep and threatening voice and I feel his performance was decent enough as he plays the menacing villainous character, especially considering that acting isn’t his day to day bread and butter. Bruce Dern also mildly featured as the town’s doctor and he felt wasted in his minuscule role and I would’ve liked to have seen Dern given a slightly larger role that had some adverse effect to the overall story. His part was so meaningless that his character could’ve been cut out of the movie and it wouldn’t have mattered.
I was slightly disappointed by the lack of action scenes that featured within the film and the ones that were featured seemed to be over in a flash. While I don’t watch a huge amount of western movies but when I do I like them to be action packed with a high body count. Hickok didn’t manage to fully exploit the wild nature of both the character it was portraying or the time period the story was set in. Another disappointing aspect of the movie was the pace in which the story moved. At times it was needlessly slow as all it was doing was preventing the inevitable ending. If the writers were stuck on ways to lengthen the story then they could’ve quite easily added some more of Bill Hickok’s backstory before he arrived in Abilene but instead got him there almost immediately and then dragged their feet for the remaining hour and twenty minutes or so.
Overall, Hickok was a mixed bag and a little more attention to detail and a quicker paced story with a few more action sequences is all this movie needed to reach the next level in terms of enjoyability. Luke Hemsworth was good to watch as was supporting actor Kaiwi Lyman.