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Jack Bull

1 rating: 5.0
A movie directed by John Badham

At a time in the West when colonies dreamt of statehood and men forged their own laws with power and pride, a honest rancher is forced to face the injustices of a power-hungry neighbor. John Cusack stars as Myrl Redding, a just and forthright horse trader … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Westerns
Cast: Rex Linn
Director: John Badham
Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Jack Bull

Jack Bull - it started as an innocent trip to the market ....

  • May 14, 2001
Pros: good acting and a good story

Cons: none

The Bottom Line: Fight for what you believe in

John Cusack is a horse owner, not always passive but not a total rebel either. Living in Wyoming before statehood, there are few laws to govern the men of power and fewer to protect the small rancher or horse owner. On the way to the horse market (whatever they call that), he must cross a portion of land owned by Henry Ballard (L. Q. Jones). Ballard enacts a tariff to cross his land, $10.00, not much by todays standards but sizable then. Cusack leaves two of his prize horses as tariff and continues on his way.

Returning, after selling his other horses, Cusack finds his prize mares in shambles - cut, beaten and broken. Seems Ballard has been using these previously unharnessed mares to work the fields. In addition, he has beaten Cusack's friend Billy (Rodney A. Grant) a Crow Indian. Cusack tries to gain support from the town sheriff and authorities for the loss of his mares and a $50 compensation for Billy - unheard of in these times. Of course the authorities are in Ballard's back pocket so things are not going to go Cusack's way at all.

Cusack's wife, Miranda Otto, is a personal friend of the Attorney General's wife and she makes a trip to ‘the big city' to try to gain the help of the Attorney General. Unfortunately two of Ballard's men are in town as well and start beating her escort. She runs to his rescue and is killed by a pair of runaway horses. An accident, but man, a bad deal nevertheless. Of course, Cusack is definitely ticked off now

He posts his own law against Ballard and forms a posse to go after him. His end result will be to have Ballard work in Cusack's stables until his mares are back in the condition they were when he left them with him and to get compensation for Billy. A simple little premise that has disastrous results. Despite all the trials Cusack has in his efforts to get to Ballard, he will not ever give up and continues on Ballard's trail.

There is an incredible trial scene with John Goodman as the presiding judge. Man there is no way I am giving anything else away about this movie, for a western it is one great movie.

Sitting on the sidelines
I am not a western fan but I am a Cusack fan so I decided to watch this one through. Then I watched it again for the sheer pleasure of it! A great story with a solid message - believe in something and fight for your beliefs.

Cusack is very good in the movie. Young and determined and quite believable in the part. I found nothing wrong with his delivery. L. Q. Jones reminded me an awful lot of another actor but I can't place his name right now, maybe Sam Neill. He appeared scruffy and unkept for a financially secure land owner and there wasn't a dang thing you could like about him. He played a great part!

Goodman as Judge Tolliver was fantastic! He was made for this part or it was made for him. I really liked him in this role and he seemed to really enjoy his cameo appearance in this movie. You could just see him feeling all fluffed up playing this judge.

There was some really beautiful scenery with deserts, sunsets, etc., and a good and believable display of a typical western town. This movie was written by Dick Cusack, John's father, and he did a remarkable job. This isn't your typical wild west movie, it has heart and feeling, and a great determination. You feel support for Cusack and his values in this movie and you want to stand by his side. Directed by John Badham, John Cusack helped produce. Also starring John Savage, haven't seen him for a while. Two big thumbs up - catch it if you can!

Susi :)


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