This blockbuster from producer/director Gore Verbinski (of Rango and three Pirates Of The Caribbeans) had a troubled production, and it shows, with a sprawling narrative, a dodgy script and a desperate decision to rely on the comic chops of Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer to get you past it all.
A character out of copyright with un-PC aspects glossed over here, this begins in 1933 (the year of the hero’s first appearance) with a strange framing device wherein an elderly Tonto (Depp in prosthetics) tells the story we’re waiting for to a kid, and we take up in the past as lawman John Reid (Hammer) came to a town on the verge of a rail link and complete with a villain (no spoilers!) in the form of nefarious Cole (nasty Tom Wilkinson).
Cole’s complicated scheme ropes in a planned war with the Comanche, a gun-happy cavalry, sleazy designs on Reid’s sister-in-law Rebecca (dreary Ruth Wilson) and more, and soon the left-for-dead John’s donning the famed mask with advice from Tonto and the pair are setting into motion an endless bunch of chase sequences that go on and on and on and on – and bizarrely don’t feature The Lone Ranger Theme (ahem, The William Tell Overture) until almost the end! Depp’s wily stereotype (no, really) and Hammer’s goofball characterisation get a few laughs, and this is also notable for a sympathetic depiction of Amerindians that attempts to appease those who might be offended by Tonto.
And it also proves that FX steam trains are really, really dull.