A half-century ago, Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde opened a chapter in Hollywood’s affair with gun-blazing outlaws, portraying criminals as folk heroes who are merely fighting the man. Fifty years later, director John Lee Hancock’s The Highwaymen retells that story, this time from the other side of the tommy gun. And it’s not a bad shot.

Highwaymen focuses on the two real Texas Rangers who brought down the on-the-lam lovers in a hail of gunfire. And while the new film doesn’t have the incendiary energy Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway brought to the original classic, Highwaymen is a lot like the grizzled characters it portrays; the movie plays like an old-fashioned road trip film that takes its time getting up to speed. Think Grumpy Old Men buy machine guns and a sweet ride.

Written by John Fusco, the film is all throwback.  It’s an odd tack, particularly in an effects-driven Hollywood. But it helps that those two star lawmen are Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson. They play Frank Hamer and Maney Gault, former partners who’ve been put out to pasture after the Rangers were disbanded. And they’ve both been retired long enough to miss the thrill of the chase.

Costner’s Frank finds himself in a life of comfort and boredom. His wife (the terrific Kim Dickens) likes having him around at home, though it’s unclear why: Frank is a curmudgeon with a pack-a-day rasp and pet boar as a guard dog. Harrelson’s Maney, meanwhile, is lost without his badge, living in a shack in Lubbock and still haunted by the horrors of a job that had him killing Mexicans by the dozen.

As Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s publicized reign of terror spreads across the South, Texas governor Miriam “Ma” Ferguson (Kathy Bates) hesitantly agrees to pull the men out of retirement and sic them on the headline-grabbing killers. Reunited behind the wheel of Frank’s Ford, the two former partners bicker and growl while employing their old-school bloodhound skills to catch their glamorous quarry.

Costner and Harrelson have an easy, believable rapport. You like spending time in their company — even if they don’t much enjoy each other’s. And the main joy of the film is watching them play off one another, whether they’re cracking informants’ skulls or teasing each other about their frequent trips to the bathroom.

Hancock, best known for The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks, shoots the film with an eye for the landscape and the sort of Depression-era details you’d see in a Ken Burns documentary. Highwaymen is one of those rare films that makes a desolate dirt road look cinematic.

Much of the charm of Highwaymen is its portrayal of police agencies in the middle of a revolution to become as equipped as the notorious outlaws they hunt. Maney is particularly charming here, shaking his head in disbelief at newfangled technology such as phone taps and patrolling the roadways via planes.

There’s also a nice touch of deja vu as Costner and Harrelson bicker and taunt like the original True Detectives. Costner even has a scene similar to Matthew McConaughey’s crime scene staging from Season 1.

The film could’ve used a little more sizzle and snap, particularly for a gangster film. It finally crackles at the end, when the bloody date with destiny we all know is coming finally arrives in violent (and historically accurate) fashion. Until then, The Highwaymen is a leisurely ride with a pair of actors who know how to do a lot by not doing too much. It won’t change cinema the way that Bonnie and Clyde once did. But it’s a worthwhile retelling.