This elegantly photographed widescreen magic realist western is full of beautifully rugged faces, gorgeous sets & scenery, & a story i found instantly reminiscent of some of the artsy illustrated stories by Moebius (Jean Giraud), who helped design the film, & upon whose work the film indeed turned out to be based.
Michael Madsen as the exaggerated western bad-guy & Vincent Cassell as Sheriff Blueberry turn in fine performances in a story so ornate & strange it couldn't've been an easy sell for any actor. The only clunky performance is from Juliette Lewis who is usually much better than this, but she obviously not convinced of the story herself, so doesn't convince the audience. Her role was originally to be played by Mila Jovovich whose absence does hurt the film.
The bulk of the film achieves its aim, but the climax is going to be too far over-the-top for most western fans, & even a little hoky for fantasy fans. The FX for the shamanistic dream-world makes no effort to seem like more than animation, whether as an artistic choice that didn't entirely work, or because of budget restrictions. For the viewer it takes an effort to suspend disbelief & just go along with the idea that western figures might be able to plug their minds into worlds of psychadelic blacklight posters circa 1969.
Even with its imperfections, Renegade is in the main a fine "weird western" & deserves an openminded viewing.
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