Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers across my desk today comes a film about making a film directed in QT style, with a copious amount of cursing and over the top humor. 'The Comeback Trail' boasts three screen legends; Robert DeNiro, Moran Freeman, and Tommy Lee Jones. I know, wow! Director George Gallo has a wordy script, with each actor grabbing time. Some of the humor is a bit over the top, and some works, yet overall the film is entertaining.
Tommy Lee Jones plays an old western star named Duke Montana. We are first introduced to his character in a nursing home with a gun to his head. Even though this film is supposed to be a comedy, I find it more of commentary on the Hollywood business in general, Duke kind of knows he is a has been, is not even looking to capture former glory. Jones is eventually offered a script and agrees to star in the film.
Morgan Freeman plays the mobster/money-man who is mainly concerned with recouping his losses. His character seems a bit underused, but the main focus on the film is the movie producers, mainly Robert DeNiro as Max Barber, who is hell bent on making his movie
The film hits a high point when Max Barber invents various ways to kill Duke Montana, including making him jump his horse through a burning wagon, The horse incidentally likes the Johnny Carson show, yeah this film is supposed to be set in the 70s. Other attempts happen, each time DeNiro's max is explaining what happened as an accident. There is a bridge scene and Max goes to slice a board off the bridge and of course Duke falls off the bridge yet manages to rope himself up on the post. Crazy stuff to be sure.
The question is, is The Comeback Trail funny, the answer is depends on the scene. Some scenes like DeNiro's rants can be a trifle long winded, yet the understated Tommy Lee Jones as Duke Montana is more subtle. Morgan Freeman as Reggie Fontaine plays a typical older mobster with flair. I mean there is real comic relief with comedian Eddie Griffin, as Devon, but he is kind of side fodder. Some of the humor works some of it does not, that said the movie itself is entertaining, perhaps a trimming of 5-8 minutes from some of the slower parts could tighten it up a bit, yet the film is definitely different.
In true QT style the film includes a few fake posters from other movies that are hysterical, best to stop the film to read them, and a three minute trailer near the end for a hopefully upcoming Killer Nuns movie.
Yes sexy nuns killing people and being sassy, was perhaps one of the best parts of 'The Comeback Trail' outside of the western action. Actress Natalie Burn plays sister Mary Rose, and her and the group of nuns are pretty bad ass and sardonically funny. I spoke with Natalie and told her ok I want to see a full 'Killer Nuns' movie.
Director Harry Hurwitz made the original Comeback Trail in 1982 and Writer/Director George Gallo of the 2021 version makes it a point to credit him prominently. Gallo is well established in Hollywood and his writing experience on the 'Bad Boys' series proves he can scribe a story. The direction on 'The Comeback Trail' is very good, scenes are well framed, the actors always seem ready to be in character as well.
The behind the camera aspect of 'The Comeback Trail' is quite polished. The editing and scenery is lush and interesting. There are a wide variety in indoor and outdoor shots and rather than going for a singular overall saturation tone, the hue is adapted for the environment. An example is the nursing home, is like a grayish drab, yet some other interior scenes are full of color. Much of the movie was shot on location in New Mexico The sheer difficulty of merging all these styles must have been a daunting task, and 'The Comeback Trail' accomplishes this with ease.
Overall, despite some uneven humor and a bit of long windedness, I enjoyed ''The Comeback Trail' and rate it a 6.5 out of 10 worthy of a watch, especially if you are a fan of the three leads.
For Further information visit the IMDB page at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5420210/