The Old Way parents guide

The Old Way Parent Guide

This Wild West tale is surprisingly tedious.

Overall C-

Online rental: When his wife is shot, Colton Briggs heads out, daughter in tow, to get revenge on the killer.

Release date January 13, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content A
Profanity C-
Substance Use C

Why is The Old Way rated R? The MPAA rated The Old Way R for violence

Run Time: 95 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Colton Briggs (Nicolas Cage) made his name as a gun-for-hire on the fringes of the American frontier, and he was pretty quick with that gun when push came to shove. But even the coldest killer in the West has a soft spot – in Brigg’s case, Ruth (Kerry Knuppe), a beautiful woman whose love turns him into a family man and general store owner. The two produce a daughter, Brooke (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), and it seems that Brigg’s days of blood and gold are truly behind him.

Sadly, a past like Brigg’s doesn’t die quite so easily, and it catches up with him in the form of James McCallister. McCallister watched Briggs kill his father as a child, and he exacts his revenge by murdering Ruth while Briggs tends the store. Despite the assurances of Marshal Jarret (Nick Searcy) that the killer will be brought to justice, Briggs is not the kind of guy to sit back and let someone else handle things. With Brooke in tow, Briggs sets off into the horizon after the man who killed the only woman he ever loved. All that remains to be seen is if Briggs is still the fastest gun in the West – or if McCallister can get the drop on him.

I’ve never seen a Western that feels so clearly like it came out of a DIY kit. Everything feels like a lazy off-brand copy of a real Western. The cheap, familiar revenge story, the cardboard characters, the dusty tumbleweed-ridden sets – all of it. I think they just took the soundtrack from Disneyland’s Frontierland background music loop. Even Nic Cage, typically a man capable of elevating the most uninspired film to levels of schlocky fun, is unusually reserved. It almost feels like the fake movies you see in other films. There’s nothing new, fun, or original here.

What The Old Way lacks in originality, it also lacks in excitement. Even the gunfights feel mundanely preordained, the outcomes not only unsurprising but shockingly uninteresting. Even the gritty revenge story fails to produce any violence that may qualify as tense or compelling. That said, there is rather less profanity than I expected from a revenge story, so if you’re looking for a Western and you don’t mind being bored, there are certainly more objectionable options. On the other hand, there aren’t many less interesting options.

I can’t recall being so disappointed in a Nic Cage movie before. Normally his high-octane antics are enough to rescue the most morose story and elevate it to a level of memorable insanity, but not so here. I hate to say it, but this movie might as well not even have Nic Cage in it. He feels completely wasted on a story so completely void of redeeming qualities, especially if he’s not going to add any of his own. Hopefully, this is just a slow day for him, and not a harbinger of the end of an era. Where would we be without him?

Directed by Brett Donowho. Starring Nicolas Cage, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Noah Le Gros. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release January 13, 2023. Updated

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The Old Way
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Old Way rated R? The Old Way is rated R by the MPAA for violence

Violence: A woman is injured when her horse is shot out from under her. People are frequently shot and killed. A man’s throat is cut. A character’s finger is deliberately broken. Several horses are shot and killed. An individual suffering from a bullet wound has the bullet removed and the wound cauterized.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are 17 uses of scatological profanity and occasional uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking and smoking tobacco.

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A far better tale of revenge on the frontier is True Grit, either the 2010 Cohen Brothers version or the original with John Wayne. Another recent Western about an aging gungslinger is Old Henry. Other recent options include News of the World, The Sisters Brothers, Hostiles, The Power of the Dog, and the unrelentingly terrible Redeeming Love. Neo-westerns include films like No Country for Old Men and Hell or High Water.