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Of the two or three dozen entities thanked in the credits for Barry Battles‘ redneck shoot-em-up The Baytown Outlaws, God ranks number eight. It’s hard to decide which is odder: that the Almighty rates so low, or that he’s acknowledged at all in a film so ostentatiously (if unmovingly) devoted to sleaze. Maybe someone in post-production realized how little chance this vial of synthetic testosterone had with the moviegoing public, and decided a Hail Mary was in order.
Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria are top-billed here, but they’re background characters, showing up only occasionally as a divorced couple fighting for possession of a wheelchair-confined teenager, Rob, whose inheritance they both want. The titular outlaws are a trio of dirt-dumb brothers Longoria hires to rescue the kid from Thornton, a wannabe gangster (in an embarrassingly Tarantino-aping monologue, he aspires to build a Wal Mart-sized empire of crime) who kidnapped him and thinks his goons have killed Longoria.
Brothers Brick (Clayne Crawford), McQueen (Travis Fimmel), and Lincoln (Daniel Cudmore) are giddy goons who make racist banter while executing criminals on behalf of a small-town sheriff (Andre Braugher). They say things like “let’s git with th’ gittin'” and keep plenty of chaw swilling around their mouths, which in this film counts as acting. Battles appears to find them roguishly charming, but most viewers will only be able to tolerate Lincoln — a hulk-sized thug who (thank Benefactor #8 for small mercies) is unable to speak.
As they make their way from Alabama to Thornton’s compound in Texas, the fellas are beset with one ludicrous gang after another: Hit-chick whores, Latino survivalists and an African-American crew of Road Warrior rejects all try to kill them, every showdown more contrived than the last. The action is shot by filter-mad DP David McFarland, whose oppressive palette of dirt and urine hues, it must be said, suits the material perfectly.
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