The Alamo review

The Alamo reportedly cost almost $100 million. And all that cash shows in every overproduced frame that plods past the projection gate. Tyro director John Lee Hancock takes a story that should be prizefighter lean - - and fattens it to sumo proportions with leaden takes on frontier legends and a slow, uneventful trek towards the Alamo stand-off.

Stephen Gaghan of Traffic fame is a credited writer, but sadly the script is only occasionally illuminated by his usual spark. Most of the film's verve comes from Billy Bob Thornton's Davy Crockett, vividly drawn as a self-aware ordinary man, snapping under the weight of his own legend.

And as for the titular battle itself? Well, the clash between the outnumbered US forces and the unstoppable army of Mexican dictator Santa Ana is spectacular and hair-trigger explosive. Unfortunately, the prelude is 90 ponderous minutes in a cinematic gulag that may leave you too drained to enjoy the sound and the fury of such an ill-fated conflict.

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