Paul Gross, American bad-ass? The man Canadians best know as a goody-two-shoes Mountie from 'Due South' actually makes a pretty convincing rogue gunslinger, believe it or not. From the long, tousled hair to the cocky swagger, Canada's male sweetheart just might have people seeing him in a different light after the Western comedy 'Gunless' hits theatres at the end of April.
Paul Gross, American bad-ass? The man Canadians best know as a goody-two-shoes Mountie from 'Due South' actually makes a pretty convincing rogue gunslinger, believe it or not. From the long, tousled hair to the cocky swagger, Canada's male sweetheart just might have people seeing him in a different light after the Western comedy 'Gunless' hits theatres at the end of April.

Gross plays hardened American gunslinger The Montana Kid, who finds himself in Canada after narrowly escaping bounty hunters fixated on killing him. When the friendly residents of the hamlet Barclay's Brush try to help him, The Kid doesn't know how to react. He winds up immediately challenging the local blacksmith to a gunfight after he tries to repair a horseshoe for The Kid without his permission. There's just one problem: the blacksmith, Jack, doesn't have a gun. What's even more baffling to The Kid is the fact that Jack has no interest in responding to the "call out" for a gunfight at all. The Kid is used to the American Wild West, where everyone is always looking for a duel.

Gunless is ultimately a "fish out of water" story, following The Kid's awkward interactions with the kindly and curious townsfolk (sounds like a Canada vs. US kind of story, doesn't it?). Naturally, he quickly develops a love interest, played by the British actress Sienna Guillory ('Resident Evil: Apocalypse'). Guillory's character, Jane, is a feisty divorcee who offers to give The Kid her ex-husband's gun in exchange for his help getting her windmill up and running. He reluctantly agrees, and follows her back to her home in the middle of nowhere.

The two go through a litany of standard rom-com banter, constantly trading insults while we wait for them to "discover" their true feelings for each other. Guillory holds her own against Gross: her sass is a good match for his brute-like gruffness. The two actors have a natural chemistry that makes us root for them to get together.

Canadian actor Callum Keith Rennie ('Battlestar Galactica') is great as the disfigured villain hunting down The Kid. He and his possé have been tracking the outlaw for years in search of vengeance (The Kid is responsible for disfiguring him in the first place), and the bounty on his head.

'Gunless' was written and directed by William Phillips ('Foolproof'). Phillips successfully delivers a crowd-pleasing, entertaining movie, proving that not all Canadian movies have to be heavy, thought-provoking "films." (Not that there's anything wrong with those. We just tend to make a whole lot of them up here.) 'Gunless' is a fun romp that doesn't have any hidden agendas or messages.

Gross was an excellent choice to star as the lead. He has developed a reputation for making Canadian movies that people actually want to watch, like his 2008 war epic 'Passchendaele'. It was hugely successful at the box office, thanks to its attention to elements usually found in Hollywood crowd-pleasers, like high production values and a romantic subplot.

'Gunless' has been touted as one of the most anticipated Canadian movies of the year. With its solid writing, good cast and sturdy execution, it certainly lives up to the hype.

Looks like Paul Gross really knows how to pick 'em.