xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
New York magazine ran a cover story years ago calling John Ford's "The Searchers" the most influential movie in American history. Movies like "Taxi Driver," "Hardcore" and "Paris, Texas" consider the theme of an abducted girl and the father or husband or cab driver who tries to rescue her from sexual despoliation at the hands of people he despises. The beat goes on with Ron Howard's "The Missing," a clunky Western that tries so hard to be Politically Correct that although young women are kidnapped by Indians to be sold into prostitution in Mexico, they are never molested by their captors.
In the tradition of Robert De Niro ("Taxi Driver"), George C. Scott ("Hardcore") and Harry Dean Stanton ("Paris, Texas"), the movie has Tommy Lee Jones as a craggy loner who turns up when needed for the rescue. But in its update of the story, "The Missing" supplies a strong woman as the heroine. This is Maggie Gilkeson (Cate Blanchett), as a frontier rancher who lives with two daughters and has a hired man (Aaron Eckhart) who provides sex, but isn't allowed to spend the night because she doesn't want to give anyone the wrong idea. She has some doctoring skills, and as the film opens, is pulling an old woman's tooth -- her last one, ho, ho.
Jones plays Maggie's father, Samuel, who abandoned the family years ago and has been living with Indians, learning their customs and sharing their firewater. He turns up desperate, but she sends him away. Then her daughter Lily (Evan Rachel Wood) is captured by Indians, and Maggie needs his expertise in the ways of the Indian; she asks him to join her in the search. Also coming along is her younger daughter, Dot (Jenna Boyd).
So OK. An old drunk, a woman and a kid are chasing a resourceful band of Indians and half-breeds, led by a psychic male witch named Chidin (Eric Schweig). What are their chances? Excellent, I'd say, although of course there will have to be several close calls, assorted escapes, recaptures and gunfights so prolonged that our attention drifts.