Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Texas Rising Part I - From The Ashes

In 1836, west of the Mississippi was considered the Wild West and the Texas frontier was viewed as hell on earth. Crushed from the outside by Mexican armadas and attacked from within by ferocious Comanche tribes—no one was safe. But this was a time of bravery, a time to die for what you believed in and a time to stand tall against the cruel rule of the Mexican General Santa Anna (Martinez). The heroic General Sam Houston (Paxton), the rag tag Rangers and the legendary “Yellow Rose of Texas” lead this story of the human will to win against insurmountable odds. At the end, the Texas flags stood tall and victorious, claiming a piece of history for all eternity.

The Battle of the Alamo is only the beginning of this tale of Texas Independence. Santa Ana rides his pompous ass to tour the results of his 'victory' - and do a little gruesome wetwork for himself. This one will never get shown in a school history class, that's for sure.

This first episode introduces us to the men who will be our Magnificent Seven in effect. The first is a man who was there and survived the battle. He has a necklace to prove his veracity.

Sam Houston - Bill Paxton. I do love to hear that western language with all it's post Civil War politeness. It's a mixture of rudeness and gentlemanly sugar. But whenever Bill needs to he is more than willing to make a speech about the fight that MUST be fought if we are to free Texans from the tyranny of Mexico. Knowing if fact that he did defeat Santa Ana makes his rags to riches story interesting to watch. I want to see how he succeeded without having to go to the Google, yet.

I would have liked to see an actor with more gravitas in the roll of such a figure in history but Bill is a fine choice.

The Texas of 1860s was fighting to become an independent nation on it's own. I had already declared it's independence. It was a mix of Mexicans, Tejanos, Indians, and Americans. They all were involved in their own Civil War for Texas land - land General Santa Ana was determined to take back if he had to kill everyone in Texas to do so.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan lost 40 lbs to play a man with tuberculosis by only eating can of tuna a day. THAT is how they REALLY do it in Hollywood, people. That look and illness only gives him more compassion to do the right things before his end comes. I like following a redemptive character through an interesting story arc. He is kind and gentle and damaged and totally doomed to die in the most heroic way possible by the end.

Lots of nice Cowboy and Indian combat and nice character development between the young and inexperienced youth and the more elder men who have seen their share of killing. They escort the last survivors (including the wife of Colonel Travis) of the Alamo to General Sam Huston and await their next orders. Here we get to meet the rest of the players whose fates we will follow all week.

Santa Ana is as sneering a villain as you can get. He's a cheat and a sadist. All he needs is a moustache to twirl - oh look, he has one.

They really go overboard in making him into the Voldemortt of Old Mexico. I get the bias has to be over the top. America has to be the overwhelming victors in this one because even when they lose the battle, they win a moral victor against evil foreigner. That Texans are just better PEOPLE is the message I got from his first episode.

Many other broad stereotypes fill the cast here. Brandon Frasier as an half breed who can do Indian and Cowboy things. I don't believe him for a second. Better are the two youngest soldiers, Kit and Vern who are best buddies from childhood. They grow up to become men as the army marche and they are on the adventure of their lives. They have no idea what war can do to a person and what I like to watch a best friend die. I wonder which one it will be but it won't be both. Another fun story arc to follow.

Oh god, then even do a little old fashion 'pickin' and grinnin' around the campfire with their geeeetars. Just like I expected. If you are going to spread that sweet American History butter, best to spread it thick.

Thomas Jane (the Punisher) is also in this? Where? I blame all the beards.

Surprisingly, this show is especially bloodthirsty. Nothing is really held back. Knives thrown through throats, head decapitated. Good choice, History Channel. The violence is there to cover the over the top messages. But I am finding I like the mix. It's kinda what is holding my interest right now.

I like watching a team come together. I wonder how many will be alive at the end. I guess I will have to see what will happen tomorrow night or I could read up on early Texas history to see if they got the facts right. Naw, that sounds like too much work.

Nothing is very subtle here. Everything is meant to inspire your feelings of patriotism for Texas and Texans. It's too bad that they are experiencing some of the worst floods to hit the area in decades. They could sure use a boost of their cool frontier history right now. It's a good story and should be told. I liked the set-up. Now lets see if the payoff can generate some emotion.

Holy that Ray Liotta that I see behind all that beard? It IS Ray Liotta. Damn boy! He plays the only man to survive the Battle the Alamo. He hid amongst the dead and was able to escape after the fighting.



DrGoat said...

Damn...can't wait to catch up on this. And make sure
I don't forget about it on Monday.
A whole bunch of very watchable actors.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Jeez -- Ray Liotta does NOT look good in a beard.