Sara Canning in Hannah's Law (2012)

Hannah's Got a Gun

As a young child Hannah (Sara Canning) was hiding in the barn when she witnessed Frank McMurphy (John Pyper-Ferguson) and his men murder her parents and then enter their home where her brother was hiding only to hear shots ring out. Having been taken in and raised by bounty hunter Isom Dart (Danny Glover), Hannah has also grown into a fearless bounty hunter based in Dodge where Wyatt Earp (Greyston Holt) is a young deputy and Doc Holliday (Ryan Murphy) inhabits a table in the saloon. Hannah's notoriety for being the lady bounty hunter who always brings her men in alive makes its way back to McMurphy who decides to come in to Dodge with his men to get her before she tracks them down. But things are not as simple as Hannah hoped when Frank reveals something from that day her parents died.

A western TV Movie is a thing of beauty although being such is in fact entirely wrong when it should be a thing of grit, grime and smoking guns. That is one of the issues which prevents "Hannah's Law" from ever climbing above the average mark as it has what I call the western chic look, where everything looks too clean and manufactured and every dirty smudge looks like it has been placed on a face by a makeup artist. It is not just the actor's looks as the staging, a confrontation in a barn where the sun is at the right height to shine though the slatted door is too perfect as are the various impressive sunsets which litter the movie. The thing is that most modern made for TV westerns suffer from this issue and whilst some movie fans might enjoy pretty westerns "Hannah's Law" is a far cry from the grit and grime of old westerns.

Danny Glover in Hannah's Law (2012)

But look beyond the visual aspect, which frankly is not that easy, and what we have with "Hannah's Law" is a solid if unremarkable little western which sees a young woman after revenge for what happened when she was a young girl. Now I can understand why they decided to make Hannah a bounty hunter who doesn't kill but it also makes it a fatal flaw as with Hannah being notorious it means any outlaw who comes face to face with her will know that whilst she may have a gun she won't shoot and it makes what happens at the end out of character. It is a shame as whilst there are numerous other things wrong with "Hannah's Law" it could have turned in to a decent female western with some true grit and realism instead of one which is dominated by its western chic.

Now you may think that I didn't like "Hannah's Law" but I have watched plenty of modern made for TV westerns to know what to expect and whilst I can't help but be disappointed by its failure to have conviction and do some thing different it does the normal stuff adequately. Sara Canning somehow manages to give Hannah a variety of faces from confident to icy cool whilst Ryan Murphy seems to have studied Val Kilmer's performance in "Tombstone" as to how to play Doc Holliday. Amusingly Billy Zane who appeared in "Tombstone" shows up as a businessman in this and one who has a bit of the skulduggery of J.R. Ewing from "Dallas" going on.

What this all boils down to is that "Hannah's Law" is a typical modern made for TV western which has a prettiness about it which for fans of older westerns makes it feel false. But whilst flawed in many ways "Hannah's Law" is typical and as such will probably entertain fans of TV movies in general rather than those who watch because it is a western.