Action Movie Fanatix Review: Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs

Let The Best Species Win.

Starring: Rib Hillis, Casey Fitzgerald, John Freeman, Vernon Wells, Eric Roberts, Sara Malakul Lane

Director: Ari Novak

2015  |  89 Minutes  |  Not Rated

“You’re history.” – Val Walker

After an explosion at a mine releases a group of long-entombed dinosaurs upon a hapless western town.  A returning rodeo cowboy leads the fight to blast these thunder lizards back into extinction.

I stumbled on Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs on NetFlix while looking for movies to add to my queue… yes I do this instead of watching actual movies sometimes…  I’m weird.  But when you see a movie called Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs, I know I’m going to get a bad movie but I also think there’s a small chance that I could end up having a good time and sometimes that is enough of a draw for me to check it out.

The first thing anyone watching Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs is going to realize is how truly awful the acting is.  Sometimes bad acting is the fault of the writer, sometimes it’s the fault of the director and sometimes it is all the actors’ fault.  With Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs, everyone is at fault.  But I think we all knew bad acting (and writing and direction) was part of the package when we hit play on a movie called Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs.  I will say that Eric Roberts’ brief role was fairly entertaining.  He’s playing the main character’s drunk father.  It’s kind of funny.

The second thing that viewers of Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs will realize is that the CGI is bad… really, really bad.  I’ll take a step back for a moment.  If the dinosaurs didn’t have to fit into a real life world, and move around realistically in that world, they would look pretty darn good.  But that can’t possibly be the case for this movie so they end up looking really, really bad.  Again, we probably expected some bad CGI from a movie like this though so I guess we will pretend like this isn’t a fault or something.

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So now we get to the third thing viewers will realize while watching this movie.  And I’ll let Eric Roberts’ character, Trent Walker, explain it to us.  “Oh, this is not fun.  This is not fun!”  A movie called Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs has left out all the possible fun aspects that the title implies.  Given some time and a smidge of money for effects and such, I could come up with all kinds of different crazy situations for this epic battle of man versus beast but Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs only gives us the last final minutes, which feature Val hopping on a triceratops to fight the T-Rex… but why in the world would I recommend anyone watch 85 bad minutes for 5 good minutes.  There are probably a couple hundred different silly cowboy movie tropes that could be combined with some variety of dinosaur to create something so utterly ridiculous that a viewer couldn’t help but laugh and have a good time with this movie.  Seriously!!!  Imagine an epic 5-minute staredown between a rodeo cowboy and a velociraptor, ala The Good the Bad and the Ugly.  That would be awesome… and stupid… but AWESOME!!!  But those moments just don’t happen.

And my last point here is really an oddball one.  And maybe this is supposed to be some sort of running joke but there are two May-December relationships in the movie that get ZERO recognition for being a bit of a weird thing.  I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s relationships but it feels a little odd to have a total of three relationships shown and to have two of them be atypical and not make any sort of mention of this.  There’s no joke about it.  There’s just a slightly-older-than-teenage-girl getting eaten by a raptor before she is able to have sex with a dude who could easily be her father.

The problem Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs has isn’t its poor script, dialog, effects or story.  It’s the fact that despite all of that, it forgot that it was just supposed to be a dumb, fun movie.

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