Given his extensive resume, it’s hard to believe that Nicolas Cage has never starred in a traditional Western. On January 6, with the release of The Old Way from Saban Films and Lionsgate, that is no longer the case. The film features Cage as Colton Briggs, a notorious gunslinger who has settled down and started a family. But as in many Westerns, that left-behind life catches up to Briggs and sets him and his daughter on a path of vengeance. I am a big fan of Westerns, so have been eagerly awaiting this film to release. Nicolas Cage in a revenge-fueled Western, what more could you want? But did the film live up to the expectations? Keep reading for my thoughts on this film and whether Western fans will want to saddle up for the ride.


The Old Way has a relatively simple plot and is a formulaic Western tale with the usual cliches. An old gunslinger is pulled back into the life he left behind. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even though the premise isn’t groundbreaking, the film itself is still fun and enjoyable to watch. Audiences know generally what to expect, and there is a degree of comfort in that. Making for an easily watchable movie. This simple story, however, is certainly bettered with one wrinkle. This time the old gunslinger is bringing his daughter along on his quest for vengeance.

Cage approaches the role of Colton Briggs with a measured demeanor that is effective as the retired gunfighter. Briggs is a cold man when the film begins but does soften at times as the movie progresses. Cage does a good job with his work in portraying both of these sides of Briggs. It may not be Cage’s finest work, but it certainly isn’t bad by any means.


The addition of Brigg’s daughter, Brooke (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) adds an interesting element to the story. Some of the best moments in the film are courtesy of Armstrong, who I thought was great in her role. While much of the plot of The Old Way is the revenge aspect, another large component is the relationship between Briggs and Brooke. When the film starts, it’s evident the relationship between the two isn’t the warmest. But during the course of the movie, there are a few great scenes with the two that develop their relationship. Which ultimately pays off in the end for the audience.

The Old Way
The Old Way (Nicolas Cage & Ryan Kiera Armstrong ) Cr. Saban Films / Lionsgate

While never explicitly called out, there are a few indications that Brooke may be on the autism spectrum. It is hinted at early in the film as she spends the day sorting a container of jelly beans into their respective colors. It is later touched on with her response or lack thereof to her mother’s death. Characters in the film comment several times that Brooke never cried or seemed to be affected. This difficulty in processing emotions is explored in more detail in arguably the best scene of the movie. When Briggs explains to his daughter his own struggles. As well as the only thing that ever made him feel afraid, and thus able to feel emotion for the first time himself.



The Old Way provides audiences with everything you’d expect from a Nicolas Cage led Western. Though not as action-packed as some other Cage films, there is certainly enough action in the film to satisfy fans eager to see some shootouts. But the best parts of the film are those with Armstrong as Brooke and the growth of her relationship with her father. In an effort to avoid any spoilers, I will only say that I found the ending to really pay off the dynamic that was built between the two during the course of their ride for payback.

There are not a ton of Western films hitting theatres these days. Most of the entries to the genre are of the TV series variety. Yellowstone and its two prequel series, The English, and That Dirt Black Bag are a few of the most recent examples. While it may not be a timeless classic like Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, or other revenge Western. The Old Way is certainly worth the watch and is recommended viewing for Western fans.

The Old Way hit theatres on January 6th. It will then make its way to Video On Demand on January 13th.


Sound off and tell us what you think! Will you be checking out The Old Way? Also, which Westerns are your favorites? That Hashtag Show wants to hear from you.

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