I watched this movie. Rented it with no knowledge of it other than i was excited when i found another kurt russell western on redbox. Kurt russell does great work imo. I first came to love him as An actor in Big Trouble Little China as a kid. I respect the viewpoints in this thread. But my impressions were this: the mid to long range shots in this movie were clearly deliberate as was the sparse language. You feel as if you are an observer in a circumstance, or even the reader in a novel, because you have a wider view of the scene than a close up would allow or convey. You get the sense you are viewing this from afar, which adds to the no nonsense realism of the movie and does not detract from involvement with the scene or characters one bit. Also you dont get clear views of some of the ancillary characters because frankly thats not important (like the mexicans). Also, the matter of fact dialogue helps to convey that these people know each other. They dont need to explain themselves to each other, they are at least somewhat aware of the nature of each other but still manage to grow closer and understand one another better as they go. Its hard for a screenplay to convey backstory and let you get to know the characters well enough to identify with them without seeming like they are hashing over their life story with people who should already know enough about them. This is done very well in this movie, rather than many movies with more manufactured sounding dialogue.
Also, the movie was more brutal than many withut alot more violence. I do not agree that the exchanges between the troglodytes and the men detract from their sense of being completley dangerous at all. They ambush you. Sneak up and are on you in a flash, they do not talk, so there is no quarter. If you do not keep on your toes and get the drop on them you are finished, and in most scenes the victors do not come out unscathed. Brooders character is the most formidible yes, but they are caught while he is on scout/survey duty. Not even he can react quick enough for that, nor can he level a gun before the tomahawk is flying at him. He is able to react quick enough, even injured to kill his attacker though. The trogs are silent, experienced, stealthy, and capable. Long drawn out scenes are not possible with the quick ferocity of their attacks. Either you dispatch them, or them you. Most hand to hand fights with legitimate weapons between warriors or even fistfights dont last long.
I dont agree at all with the notion that their is something shallow or less than menacing about their roles in this movie. Once theyre on you, you cant do nothing. Thats the point. And thats what makes them so dangerous, even with a jawbone.