Dave and Rachel's movie reviews.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Young Guns

Year: 1988 (Young Guns), 1990 (Young Guns II)
Running time: 107 minutes (Young Guns), 104 minutes (Young Guns II)
Certificate: 18 (Young Guns), 12 (Young Guns II)
Language: English
Screenplay: John Fusco
Director: Christopher Cain (Young Guns), Geoff Murphy (Young Guns II)
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Keifer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terence Stamp, Jack Palance, Alice Carter, Christian Slater, William Petersen, Alan Ruck, R.D. Call, James Coburn, Balthazar Getty, Viggo Mortensen, Leon Rippy

Billy the Kid: liked to shoot stuff.
The Brat Pack stir many nostalgic memories for me, because I saw those films at just the right time to influence my youth – Sixteen Candles ignited a sense of romance, The Breakfast Club made me realise that there's no shame in being different and to never let anyone fix a label to me and Ferris Bueller's Day Off just made me laugh a lot. However, save Flatliners and The Lost Boys, it was these two movies that stayed with me the longest from that era.

They were just so cool. Having that Brat Pack sensibility applied to the western, America's most classic and self-identifying genre was a beautiful touch, and made for a hugely enjoyable couple of films. Each character is played with such relish, the cast are obviously having the time of their lives, riding horses and shooting guns. Pretty much everything about these films rested on Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid, and he gives the part such a manic energy, you begin to doubt his sanity.

The Regulators, regulating.
William H. Bonney is a no good scrote who gets taken in by John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) and begins to form a more useful existence as one of Tunstall's 'regulators'; other young men taken in and mentored by Tunstall. That is, until Tunstall is gunned down by rival cattle ranchers. The six young men he had taken in are made sheriffs and given the task of bringing the killers to justice. But Billy is a loose wire and kills them instead, forcing them to turn outlaw.

Revisiting the films recently, I could see the 80s sensibility as clear as day, and in no way could they ever hope to compare to the magnificence of the classic John Ford westerns, but, then again, that isn't was it was ever trying to do, and they are as much fun as they ever were. The drug-trance scene from Young Guns remains one of the funniest scenes I think I've ever seen ("Did you guys see the size of that chicken?"). Both films are peppered with cheesy but memorable and ever-quotable dialogue – “Hello Bob! (Shoots Bob) Goodbye Bob!”
"Yoohoo! I'll make you famous!"
The sequel is given an extra depth and a sense of melancholy, as Billy begins to feel remorse for some of the people he kills, and it soon becomes clear that the title Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory is more than just a meaningless phrase (particularly for Keifer Sutherland's Doc, who genuinely does go out in a blaze of glory after trying so hard to get away).

Not exactly high art, but still cracking good fun.

Young Guns: 7/10
Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory: 7/10

It seems I may be viewing these movies through rose-tinted nostalgia specs, judging by this review of Young Guns by Alex at The Guardian and this one of the sequel by Samuel, not to mention Empire's thoughts on them: Young Guns & Young Guns II.