The Warrant is a generically poor Western, bringing nothing new to the table, where the shining light is a scenery-chewing Casper Van Dien.
The Warrant is a Western from director Brent Christy (The Legend of 5 Mile Cave) and starring Neal McDonough (Captain America: The First Avenger), Steven R McQueen (The Vampire Diaries) and Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers).
The Warrant follows John Breaker (McDonough) who fought in 1864 in the Civil War alongside his son Cal (McQueen). They served next The Saint (Van Dien) who in the post-war has become an outlaw, a dangerous outlaw, with Cal trying to track him down, and John becoming a small-town Sheriff trying to keep out of conflicts of the modern world. When Cal, a US Marshal, comes to his father in search of help in taking down the Saint, John is left to get involved once more, one last fight against a man he once called a brother.
The Warrant uses the story to bring the Western themes to life by bringing the lawmen together in a hunt for an outlaw gang, one that would outnumber them and has a reputation for being the deadliest around. It isn’t the most original use of these themes, moving us into the world of post-Civil War over the Wild West we often see in the biggest productions. The constant jump between 1864 in the war and 1869, post-war, does get frustrating, with only a couple of minutes to fill in the blanks regarding what would have changed relationship-wise between the men during the time. It just doesn’t help the story flow in a way that feels enjoyable.
The Warrant gives character actor Neal McDonough a chance to take center stage, an actor we know fills the roles of authority figures on different levels for years now, though he does seem to struggle to make the impact in this film, a role that should be his bread and butter. It just doesn’t get going for him, bringing us a flat performance which is meant to be filled with moments or memories and even occasional comedy, which again misses. Casper Van Dien does get to have some fun in the villainous role in the film; he looks the part and always seems more committed than anyone else, bringing the crazier eye to the performance.
Overall, The Warrant is a Western that doesn’t bring us anything new. It has Casper Van Dien being the shining light, even if it is because of how much fun he looks like he is having in the villainous role, but the film itself is not able to manufacture any real suspense.