Scripter Larry Brothers has penned a story based on James Lee Burke’s novel about a middle-aged hero named Allison and his young, innocent pal Holland who, meeting in a dreadful 1830s penal colony in Louisiana, bust out so they can have all sorts of adventures. With Kris Kristofferson and Scott Bairstow as the buddies, and with uneven helming by director Rod Hardy, “Two for Texas” doesn’t offer much in the way of credibility.
Busting out of their imprisonment and taking the fair Choctaw femme Sana (a convincing Irene Bedard) along, they make a zigzag trail toward Sam Houston’s east Texas camp-out. Holland (Bairstow) succumbs one murky campsite night to Sana’s come-ons; the next morning Allison tells him Sana’s gotta hit the road.
The two hombres, riding through less-than-exciting happenings, meet up with Houston (a miscast Tom Skerritt, who insists on acting sternly historic). Houston wants to know about their past, so they spill why they were in the pokey. And speaking up for Allison is longtime friend Jim Bowie (played with considerable skill by Peter Coyote).
Bowie and his knife are around, but not for long: He’s heading off for the Alamo. Houston explains to his men why their small band of soldiers can’t go help fight Santa Anna (Marco Rodriguez) and his 5,000 men.
Allison and Holland survey the aftermath of the Alamo (production designer Cary White and crew did construct an impressive Alamo facade) and, among the ruins, encounter widow Dickinson (Karey Green, who, thanks to director Hardy’s misguidance, overplays the meaty role she’s handed).
Now it’s on with Houston to the Battle of San Jacinto, which is full of explosives, hurtling costumed bodies, staring corpses, wild-eyed horses and little persuasion.
While director Hardy earns credit for the early swamp prison scenes, the script doesn’t help the cause as the heroes hit dry land. Kristofferson eases his way through the role, and Bairstow’s stuck with a callow, not particularly interesting character in Holland. As a team, their best moments occur when, at the end, they sentimentally break up.
Tech credits are OK, but the buddy characters’ friendship isn’t that persuasive, and the secondary characters aren’t particularly impressive — save Rodriguez’s Santa Anna, Coyote’s Bowie and Bedard’s touching Indian maiden.