Directed by John Lee Hancock, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Dennis Quaid, Patrick Wilson and Emilio Echevarria.

Massacred by US critics upon its release, 'The Alamo' cost an estimated $95m to make, but took only $22m at the box office. With its blockbuster-sized budget, it would be easy to expect something fast and spectacular; what director John Lee Hancock has come up with is anything but.

To Hancock's credit, his film plays down the chest-beating of the 1960 John Wayne version. Here Davey Crockett (Thornton) is a violin-playing chancer, Jim Bowie (Patric) is too close to death to strike fear into many and Sam Houston (Quaid) is a drunk with a huge ego. But the script is flatter than a tortilla, the pace painfully slow and the dialogue does little to endear you to the characters. As a docudrama with a voiceover on TV, 'The Alamo' had some hope, on the big screen, there's no chance.

With Thornton's charisma down to a dull glow and Quaid approaching his character as if his daily on-set diet consisted solely of Brussels sprouts, Hancock only has the epic battle to save this film. But while the fight scenes are well-realised, only war or history buffs will still be interested enough to care.

Definitely one to forget.  

Harry Guerin