Movie review of “In a Valley of Violence”: Writer-director Ti West brings not an iota of originality to his handling of this revenge Western about a lone rider (Ethan Hawke) and his faithful pooch. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.

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They should have left his dog alone.

He told them, begged them, warned them in no uncertain terms: Leave my dog alone.

They didn’t.

Movie Review ★½  

‘In a Valley of Violence,’ with Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, James Ransone, Taissa Farmiga. Written and directed by Ti West. 104 minutes. Rated R for violence and language. Sundance Cinemas (21+).

Instead, they did something really bad to that dog. And then they did something almost as bad to him. Shoved him off a cliff. Left him for dead.

They should have made sure.

They didn’t.

Anyone who has ever seen a revenge thriller knows where this is going.

It goes there in “In a Valley of Violence.”

The setup bears some resemblance to “John Wick”: You killed my dog; now I’m going to kill all of you. Only in place of Keanu Reeves, it’s Ethan Hawke who is the man of vengeance. And instead of a present-day city, the setting is the Old West.

Out of the sun-seared desert comes a lone rider and his faithful pooch. Raspy voice. Baleful squint. Obviously a graduate of the C. Eastwood School for Menacing Men.

Into a flyspeck town without pity in the middle of the gawdforsaken Valley of Violence he comes. Just passing through. He don’t want no trouble.

Trouble arrives, of course, in the form of a bullying, trigger-happy loudmouth (James Ransone), who just happens to be the son of the town’s tough-guy marshal (John Travolta, impressively mustached).

Mr. Big Mouth doesn’t like strangers in his flyspeck.

He’s also not a dog lover.

Dead man walking.

Writer-director Ti West brings not an iota of originality to his handling of this material.

Plods, the picture does, through its predictable paces.

It’s a shame about that dog, though.