Metascore
25

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 26
  2. Negative: 17 out of 26
  1. It's a handsome and skillful retelling of a legend that imaginatively draws on conventions of both the western and the gangster movie to create an energetic yet thoughtful contemporary action-adventure.
  2. 70
    Jas lots of action, drama, comedy, and corn -- and few pauses, which is striking.
  3. A pretty dreadful affair -- ludicrous as history and a veritable gallery of visual cliches.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    63
    At least hits a certain adrenaline level, and the stunts have panache. If you crave the ''Young Guns'' approach to the Old West, here it is again.
  5. 50
    A weak whinny of a horse opera tailor-made for those who can't quite locate "Young Guns" or "The Long Riders" in their video store.
  6. It's a sad day for film lovers when the best thing that can be said about a Western is that it's pleasant.
  7. The best work comes from Timothy Dalton as the grizzled, Scots-accented head of the Pinkertons.
  8. 50
    While movies like "The Long Riders" (1980) and "The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid" (1972) aim to be serious considerations of the outlaws' lives and legends, this picture just wants to have fun.
  9. 40
    May be simple, but it's also simple-minded; this is, after all, a movie determined to transform its Rebel soldier heroes into men of the people, making it as neglectful of politics as last summer's "Patriot," which evaded that nasty issue of slavery during the America Revolution.
  10. 38
    Repackage clichés and stereotypes with attractive young performers in a simple-minded script that panders to the teen audience.
  11. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    33
    Bogusly wholesome six-gun dud.
  12. So desperate are the filmmakers to create a "hip" western that they try to cram it with action sequences that aren't very exciting.
  13. 25
    For years there have been reports of the death of the Western. Now comes American Outlaws, proof that even the B Western is dead.
  14. Not only does American Outlaws distort history, but the filmmakers have created a dull, one-dimensional pop icon out of James' complex character and legend.
  15. 25
    The dumbest, most risible retelling ever made of the exploits of legendary bank robber Jesse James.
  16. Dalton, using a Scottish brogue coarse enough to take his tongue with it, is hootably bad, and Kathy Bates, playing Ma James, is pure ham.
  17. As a western, American Outlaws is an utter failure. As the basis of a "Mad TV" parody, it is an unintentional hoot.
  18. This plot leaves ample room for viewers to sweat the small stuff, like whether Trevor Nunn's score is more Marines ad or deodorant commercial.
  19. 20
    Should be shot at sunrise. Or strung up by the neck from a tall tree. Or at least run out of town by a big posse.
  20. 20
    Instead of true grit and gutshot black-hatters, director Les Mayfield has crafted what may well be the world's first Tommy Hilfiger Western.
  21. 20
    No drama, no lyricism, just cornpone. It's too bad, because outlaws are, by their very nature, glamorous movie subjects.
  22. 20
    Occasionally the Woo-inflected action sequences - particularly a horse stampede through town on hanging day, and an escape from a moving train - rouse the film from its anti-historic, even mythophobic torpor.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    20
    Sadly symbolizes the decline of the Western. The 36th bigscreen version of the exploits of the James-Younger Gang is one of the least convincing.
  24. Some stories are eternal. They will not go away. They are told and retold for generations. Take the story of Jesse James --it is not one of them.
  25. Les Mayfield's unintentionally wry American Outlaws just smells -- of filmmaking manure as well as yard-sale revisionism.
  26. There's no escaping the hackneyed plot or Mayfield's conventional hand. So don't go.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 3 out of 20
  1. DieClown
    Jan 31, 2006
    10
    for being a newer remake of jesse james i thought it was great, I like the more up beat action than the old western spin they could have done like tombstone. But i liked tombstone too, overall it was a great movie and i own it. Full Review »