Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Quick and the Dead

Not being a fan of the typical cowboy movie (I honestly don't enjoy John Wayne flicks), I was surprised to find myself so enthralled with The Quick and the Dead... if only for the complete atypical feeling of it. Directed by none other than Sam Raimi himself, TQATD is set in a lonely western town ruled with an iron fist by Gene Hackman's "John Herod" who's as mean as he is rich. Herod is also know for his gunslinging talents so he hosts a dueling tournament with $123,000 for the winner. All types of strange and stereotypical wild west personalities come out for the challenge, including the cocky skill-shooter, the 'unkillable' indian and the smelly scarred-up convict. Leading the story though are the Lady, the Kid and Cort (played by Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe respectively. Cort is a former cohort of Herod, turned priest to repent his sinful youth, who is brought into the tournament against his will as he's the one gun Herod fears. The Kid is, in fact, Herod's quasi-legitimate son desperate to prove his worth and back up his big mouth. And the Lady turns heads as she walks about with an air of mystery until her background and motivations are revealed.

Original Release: 1995
Running Time: 107 minutes

It's almost high noon, so let's get to the ratings...
(Need a rating system reminder?)
Death - $1
There could and should have been more death in a movie about pistol duels, but I will be a bit lenient since the rules change from "man left standing" to "man left breathing" closer to the end of the movie. Up until that point there was plenty of shooting but most of it was not with the intent to kill. One of my favorite scenes shows the shadow of a character (I won't say who) in the sand with a circle of light in the center of their chest where the bullet has passed through.

Acting - $2
Gene Hackman feels like a wild west Lex Luthor. Sharon Stone actually makes me believe for a minute she's not a whore. Crowe and DiCaprio both bring to their characters what you would expect of these two men. A mix of faces known and unknown in the supporting cast all deliver the same caliber performances as the primaries... all of which greater than you would expect for what could have easily been turned into a horrible B movie.

Repeat Play - $2
There are only so many movies that I could watch once a month or more for an entire year... and this is near the top of the list. The story and acting draw you in, the gun fights keep you watching and the painless enjoyment keeps you coming back. I can watch The Quick and the Dead almost any morning, afternoon or night by myself or with a companion (ladies, let me know if you're interested).

Action and Ass-Kickery - $1
We aren't given too many fist fights here, but... well... you did read the part about this being about WILD WEST GUN DUELS right? Come on people... that's a guaranteed dollar. Oh, and Sharon Stone sucker punches a dude. Mark that off the list of things to see before I die.

Billicious - $2
The Quick and the Dead is a period film that stays true to the wild west roots, but still has a little something different about it that is just cool. Sam Raimi brings his unique view to the director's chair and delivers anything but another boring cowboy movie.
Total Rating: $8
I think I said most everything above, but I guess I need to add another note or two here. One of the great things about this movie is that it helped transition in careers for actors like Leo and Russell, while also letting Sharon grasp on to a career and helping Gene and others keep adding to their lists of memorable performances. I don't think I know anybody that has seen this movie and wouldn't include it on their guilty pleasures list, but I'd love to hear back from anyone with their thoughts... good or bad. Thanks again for joining me!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Sharon Stone as a kid killer her dad should earn this a 2 instead of a 1 in the ass kickery department or death.