Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school ... See full summary »
Ellen, an unknown female gunslinger rides into a small, dingy and depressing prairie town with a secret as to her reason for showing up. Shortly after her arrival, a local preacher, Cort, is thrown through the saloon doors while townfolk are signing up for a gun competition. The pot is a huge sum of money and the only rule: that you follow the rules of the man that set up the contest, Herod. Herod is also the owner, leader, and "ruler" of the town. Seems he's arranged this little gun-show-off so that the preacher (who use to be an outlaw and rode with Herod) will have to fight again. Cort refuses to ever use a gun to kill again and Herod, acknowledging Cort as one of the best, is determined to alter this line of thinking ... even if it gets someone killed ... Written by
Take a typical western motif and mix it with a huge cast of recognizable faces and you have this genre throwback. Including Sharon Stone doing her take on 'the lady with no name'. With a dark past, she comes into a town gone straight to hell that's run by a nasty outlaw played by Hackman who usurps his power over the townsfolk that equally hate and fear him. It's here where these characters meet for the town's last man standing duel. Where the prize is to die for and of course many will before it's all over.
I really gotta talk about the cast compliment. It's the meal ticket. Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman I've already mentioned, but also Russell Crowe and Leonard Dicaprio (both before stardom), Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Gary Sinise, Keith David and a bunch of other bit players you'll probably recognize too. Stone's got her role down pat. Gene Hackman does justice to his mean embittered role almost relishing it. Russell Crowe shows a glimmer of what's to come from him although his character isn't that deep. Lance Henriksen as the slick gunfighter Ace Hanlon is a treat while Dicaprio is given a pretty straight laced role while not restricting doesn't allow him much place to go.
I don't think its unfair to say the story is rather predictable, but it's still worth tuning in for. For no other reason - let's be honest - the gun battles. The showdowns. Yes characters and a story go along way, but you want to see people get kablamed too. On that angle this movie performs nicely with fine camera work and direction by Sam Raimi of all people. Using a large town clock with a big 'ol wooden pair of hands that creak when they move was a masterful touch.
It's first and foremost action that wins out, but contains enough goings on in the thinking department to be satisfactory. With subplots ranging from hidden agendas, broken pasts and character morality. Some are there to win the trunk load of money, others are there cause they've got nothing to lose. Some are there to prove themselves. May it be to others or to themselves. Gritty, yet slick, satisfying to a classic western fan, 'The Quick and the Dead' is a modern slice of spaghetti bravado.
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