A remake of the 1957 Western with new stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, this makes you wonder what it would be like if that faded genre was still at the top of the Hollywood heap. How would today’s actors look in the sort of hats once worn by James Stewart, Alan Ladd and John Wayne? If Crowe and Bale are any indication, pretty good. At turns taciturn and savage, the two stars tap into the air of desperation that marks any good Western, in which good men – and bad – play a dusty game of survival of the fittest. Bale wears the white hat as a father, husband and struggling rancher who agrees to escort a wanted criminal (Crowe) to a prison train. Director James Mangold gets the most out of his Western milieu – for the action scenes, he seems to have set the camera on a horse’s back and then smacked its rear – though his talky, touchy-feely climax is a far cry from the hallmark stoicism of Westerns past.