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The Baytown Outlaws

2012 | 98 min | R | 2.39:1

The Baytown Outlaws


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Theatrical release date

 11 January, 2013

Country of origin

 United States



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Screenshots from The Baytown Outlaws Blu-ray

The Baytown Outlaws Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, January 3, 2013

For the first hour, “The Baytown Outlaws” keeps to a persuasive display of violence and colorful characters, with co-writer/director Barry Battles manufacturing a tasty slice of southern-fried grindhouse, populated with seedy characters and outrageous confrontations. The pace isn’t kept as the material eventually begs to be taken seriously, which comes to cripple the entire viewing experience. However, those with a taste for unsavory events guided by loudmouth participants should be able to extract some enjoyment out of the determined feature. It’s a shame Battles loses his nerve in the final act, weirdly assuming viewers have developed an emotional attachment to material that works best as a cartoon.

Deep in the heart of Alabama, idiot assassins The Oodie Brothers, including unstoppable mute Lincoln (Daniel Cudmore), youngest McQueen (Travis Fimmel), and ringleader Brick (Clayne Crawford), have messed up their latest job, angering town sheriff and secretive surrogate father, Henry (Andre Braugher). Recognizing an opportunity, Celeste (Eva Longoria) hires the Oodies to retrieve her physically challenged godson, Rob (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), from her ex-husband, aspiring crime lord Carlos (Billy Bob Thornton). Accepting the deal, the brothers hit the road to Texas and nab the wheelchair-bound kid, incurring Carlos’s wrath and his access to various killer gangs, with a squad of sexually charged women (led by Zoe Bell), a team of “Road Warrior” inspired African-American thugs, and a Native American motorcycle crew out to slaughter the Oodies. Back in Alabama, Henry is harassed by ATF Agent Reese (Paul Wesley), who’s pieced together the connection between the respected lawman and his unruly, illiterate charges.

“The Baytown Outlaws” takes its southern pride very seriously (Brick wears a Confederate flag shirt throughout the movie), lending the production a sweltering atmosphere of intimidation and isolation, allowing the story to develop a compelling confrontation between Henry and Reese as the two verbally spar over the identities of the Oodies, along with a general open air quality that elevates broad displays of lawlessness. Battles is game to rev up “Baytown Outlaws” with a regional roar, launching the picture with a vivid display of brutality and redneck shenanigans to introduce the tone of the effort, observing the Oodies ransack a home occupied by petty criminals, tearing through the property with feral viciousness and a slack-jawed sense of humor, backed by a banal rock score that covers the twangy basics without ever launching into the stratosphere. When the opening act concludes, Battles has successfully arranged the characters into their starting positions, detailed the burgeoning antagonism with a sense of humor, and greased up the frame with sweat, blood, and chewing tobacco spit. What’s not to love here?

The screenplay is an exaggerated creation that embraces its architecture of hostility, serving up saucy one-liners and monologues (including Carlos’s comparison of his criminal empire to Walmart), while stunt work is impressive for such a low-budget feature, with the filmmaker finding memorable locations to unleash his showdowns. There’s also a question of the mercenary outfits ordered to thwart the Oodies’ iffy plan, assuming a “Warriors” stance of graphic gang warfare, with each team emphasizing their strength through design. It’s a grand playground of animosity, sold with palpable glee by Battles and his cast, who appear to be having a ball wielding powerful weapons while wearing outlandish costumes. The party extends to the three leads, who create a memorable trio of carelessness, bombing around the frame with confident Alabama ego, only weakened by a lack of basic brain function.

Less involved is Thornton and Longoria. Despite their prominent marketing placement and Thornton’s chewy role as a vengeful, verbose baddie, neither actor is in the picture for very long, leaving most of the movie to Braugher and the lesser known talent.

The festivities eventually halt in the final act, where Battles, for reasons not entirely understood, slams on the “Baytown Outlaw” brakes, introducing a philosophical side to the Oodies as McQueen is bothered by Rob’s disability, questioning God’s plan. It’s quick descent into laborious dramatics that’s a complete antithesis to earlier mayhem. Battles starts to take the material seriously, which is a deflating turn of events, sobering the film up quickly before it’s off to another, considerably less effective shootout sequence. It’s disappointing to watch such a lively, acceptably reckless feature sink to its knees and pray, ultimately kneecapping “The Baytown Outlaws” at the very moment it should to sprinting for B-movie glory.

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Eva Longoria, Zoe Bell, Paul Wesley, Natalie Martinez, Serinda Swan
Director: Barry Battles

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