In The Old Way from Saban Films, Nicholas Cage brings his nouveau shamanism to the old west for director Brett Donowho. Carl W. Lucas pens the film's screenplay, which finds the Academy Award winner stepping into the of Colton Briggs, a cold-blooded gunslinger turned respectable family man. Colton is enjoying a simple life in the country with his wife, Ruth (Kerry Knuupe). Due to overwhelming daily chores, Ruth has Colton take their daughter Brooke (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) to school.
Unfortunately, Ruth ends up on the wrong side of a bullet of outlaw James McCallister (Noah LeGros), who leads a murderous posse that may have a score to settle with Colton. The rest of the thugs in the McCallister gang includes Eustice (Clint Howard), Big Mike (Abraham Benrubi), and Boots (Shiloh Fernandez).
Defying the orders of a US Marshal and his remaining family in peril, Colton must take up arms with an unlikely partner, his 12-year-old daughter Brooke. As Colton prepares for a fateful showdown with the McCallister gang, he will also discover what it means to be a father.
The Old Way has a relatively simple story that gets right to the heart of the matter. A retired gunslinger trope has been seen before in western movies. There was even a martial arts movie, The Octagon, from 1980 that allowed martial arts fans to experience it for themselves.
As a result, the film's script follows one of the many well-trodden paths, in which Brooke and Colton run after the killers to a quiet, faraway town through artificial means to find them. Cage's fans will be delighted, but I wonder how everyone else will react. The movie does lose some steam when the focus is on the subplot of the town's authority figure, Marshall Jarret (Nick Searcy). Granted, as a man of the law, he's willed to try and stop the inevitable showdowns from taking place. But there was just something about his character I found off-putting.
As far as the plot is concerned, there is no need to break new ground. While the setup isn't cutting-edge, the film can successfully handle its main story. Don't expect a Western to be like True Grit or an Eastwood-style film. Enjoy the ride and see what happens.
Final Grade: C
The Old Way is avaiable On Premium Video on Demand and Premium Digital January 13, 2023