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Brat Pack Go West
no-skyline2 June 2006
Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Emilo Estevez and Lou Diamond Phillips star in this light weight western, re-telling of the Billy The Kid story. This movie plays fast and loose with history and is in not particularly accurate about most details but as an enjoyable western adventure it succeeds. The movies style harks back to the old days of the western adventure such as Rio Bravo etc and while nowhere near it in terms of class it is a worthwhile watch. Jack Palance makes a fantastic bad guy and Terranc Stamp puts in a good performance as the gangs father figure. Performances of the brat pack are pretty good and I really enjoyed Estevez's portrayal of the kid. If you like westerns and enjoyed modern versions such as Tombstone you'll enjoy this movie.

7/10 - Not exactly Unforgiven or Rio Bravo but still a worthwhile watch for any western fan.
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Lots of great stars = entertaining movie
Agent1011 July 2002
With a brilliant collection of characters, this movie proved to be one of the more entertaining modern day westerns. Charlie Sheen, Keifer Sutherland, Emilio Estevez, Lou Diamond Phillips and the other guys all shined in this movie, making it memorable in a landscape of a lost art form. Sure, some movies have tried to equal this film's motif (American Outlaws, Texas Rangers, Ride With the Devil, etc.) but all have failed in the process. Coupled with some good shoot-out scenes, this proved to be a rather entertaining movie.
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Siemaszko, Estevez and Phillips make this show.
Thornfield222 June 2001
With a cast of six great actors (especially the three mentioned up above) you know you can't go wrong. Estevez was powerful and a dead ringer for Billy the Kid. He was fast, furious and he takes you on a wild ride from the moment he hits the screen (very beginning). His character didn't really sit still for a second and his sharp wit and devilish humor are masked well underneath his thirst for revenge and blood. I also believe that he had a need for power and this was entwined well with the other facets of the character. Phillps was truly incredible as the spiritual leader of the team, who had a serious bone to pick. I really saw true talent being performed in the scenes where he painted his face black and guides the others in a spiritual journey. He also especially eminates this talent at the end where he talks about the attack on his family. However, I think the finest performance of the pack goes to Casey Siemaszko's Charlie Bowdre. Almost an innocent, laid back character in the beginning, you see each of his layers peal away until you see an amazing sequence of emotions. Ranging from a good humored farm hand, to a lonely vigilante, to a newly wed to a soldier of justice and then finally in the end giving everything he has to obtain some justice. Amazing. It's a shame he's not more recognized in the eyes of Hollywood today. 8.5 out of 10.
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Not bad, not bad at all
grahamsj31 January 2003
This film stars many of the fine young actors that are coming of age today. They were good in this film. This film is primarily about youth and how it can be lost so quickly, so easily. All of these guys became men too young and lost their chance for youth. And they paid for it. This is also about good and evil. Emelio Estevez is excellent as the more or less evil Billy the Kid. He and the others (Keifer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips are given a chance to become "good" after straying from the right path. When their benefactor is murdered, they seek revenge and they get it "their way", and in the process, become wanted men. The acting is the strength here, not the story. These young guns grew up to become great actors, every one of them. This is an excellent example of their best early work.
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History is shot down once again
jhammond593 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I was somewhat surprised to see the Lincoln County War portrayed as accurately as it was, even though there were a number of historical inaccuracies. Since I'm doing extensive research on the Lincoln County War for a novel about same, I expected to gag often at historical lapses, but the screenplay by John Fusco stays reasonably close to the historical record. Of course the historical record has produced many conflicting interpretations as I soon discovered.

The choice to make Billy a psychopathic killer, whether by Emilio Estevez's interpretation or the director's is not well supported by historical facts, but Emilio's insane giggle after each killing strongly suggests it.

In the context of the times, within a lawless county that at the time was as large as Connecticutt, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont combined, men often settled things with a gun and violence, and Billy was definitely a product of those times.

One glaring mistake, and one made often in Billy the Kid movies was John Tunstall's real age, which was 24, not 55 as Terrence Stamp (I'm being charitable) appears to be in the film. While Billy was loyal to the man that gave him honest work, I don't think he'd be perceived as a father figure. Nonetheless, the scene at Tunstall's home where he asks Billy to read for him did portray the fact he was quite literate as his letters to Gov. Wallace prove.

The scene where Billy kills Henry Hill in the outhouse is pure fabrication. There was a Tom Hill that rode with Jessie Evans, but he was killed later by an Cherokee Indian when Tom and Jessie tried to rob a sheep drover, John Wagner. Legend did have Billy responsible, but most accounts tagged the notorious Jessie Evans for that mishap.

The Five Day Battle, one of the most famous in the west, was done reasonable well. Col Dudley did get involved in the fray, and brought a six pounder howitzer and a Gatling Gun with him. His intent, while he denied it was to "even the odds", which meant to give the Murphy-Dolan gang a 2 to 1 advantage. However, the gun was NOT used to kill McSween, but to intimidate McSween's men housed in two other buildings in Lincoln.

McSween was killed trying to escape the conflagration, but had waited too long after Billy led a diversion to draw their fire. Many of the soldiers were shown also firing at the McSween home, but little evidence supports that possibility. However, Dudley's positioning of his men alongside Dolan's made it impossible for McSweens's men to return fire for fear of hitting a soldier that would have resulted in Dudley firing his cannon and Gatling Gun.

Also, on this point, the soldiers of Fort Stanton would have been hard pressed not to get involved with all the guns going off. These were battle tested veterans, many of whom knew Murphy and Dolan as they both were mustered out at Fort Stanton, and Murphy had a store at the fort years earlier and no doubt got drunk with some of them.

The character of L. G. Murphy was perfectly cast with Jack Palance. You never had any doubt this was a bad dude. However, at the time of the battle, Murphy suffered from Cancer of the bowels, and was singlehandedly drinking up his saloon's profits. Dolan was by then the man in charge, and an even nastier man than his ex-boss.

The one point of departure that had me completely aghast was the needless peyote scene. Unless, true to the times, we had to have a "drug scene", where were they going with this? Others have commented on the music, and I must say, when playing the DVD in its intro mode, the replaying of that dreadful song is enough to make one hit the mute button. One of the extras that I appreciated is a documentary of Billy the Kid, which does correct some of the deviations in the movie.

One place they did get things right was in the characterization of Buckshot Roberts by the late Brian Keith, one of my favorites. Buckshot got his name from a load of same that shattered his shoulder making it impossible for him to raise his rifle above his waist and Keith mimicked that perfectly.

There were other inaccuracies to be sure, but I have covered the most glaring. And of course most of you are not watching this as western history, I trust. Faults aside, this is still one of the most realistic and accurate portraits of the 1870's in New Mexico.
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Never intended to be a rival to Leone, Young Guns is a fun ride with likable performances.
axlrhodes19 June 2008
Its easy to pass off Young Guns as an eager to please piece of throwaway rock video style entertainment aimed at the younger demographic but that would be unfair.The thing is,it knows what it wants to be and it does it very well.The young cast all perform with great fun and energy thus enriching the film immeasurably.They are well supported by Jack Palance and Terrence Stamp who bring weight to proceedings, particularly Palance who seems to revel in his hammy role.Emilio Estevez's interpretation of Billy The Kid is a great watch too,his realisation of the character may be a million miles from the reality but when there's this much fun being had on screen,who cares!? The music in the film is a little jarring in places,electric guitars screaming Van Halen style over a western horse chase feel very much out of place but its never distracting enough to take you out of the fun. So in summary Young Guns is a western that wants to entertain you and I say it succeeds well.It was never intended to be a Sergio Leone classic western,just a fun ride with characters you can root for.On that level,it is a triumph.
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Young Guns Go for It
wes-connors16 May 2010
These "Young Guns" are led by Emilio Estevez. According to the DVD sleeve's synopsis, "The year is 1878, Lincoln County. John Tunstall, a British ranchowner, hires six rebellious boys as 'regulators' to protect his ranch against the ruthless Santa Fe Ring. When Tunstall is killed in an ambush, the Regulators, led by the wild tempered 'Billy the Kid' (Estevez), declare war on the Ring. As their vendetta turns into a bloody rampage, they are branded outlaws, becoming the objects of the largest manhunt in Western history."

This modernized "Billy the Kid" gang bang delivers its promised gunslinging action. But, that's about it.

"Young Guns" only boasts authentic pretense. They have great hair and show off some butt cheeks. But, the "Old Guns" making cameos are better. Growing old gracefully, handsome Patrick (son of John) Wayne (as Pat Garrett) blows everyone out of the water. There are guns galore, but few females. The soundtrack rocks and the camera is grainy. In short, this is a western from the 1980s that stays there.

**** Young Guns (8/10/88) Christopher Cain ~ Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen
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Revisionist and contemporary study about William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid
ma-cortes6 September 2008
This is a revisionist look about the known story of the West's greatest bandit. Contemporary-style Western with nice performances and fine direction by Christopher Cain who creates some good action scenes. The Kid is well played ,though sometimes overacting , by Emilio Estevez, he plays as a likable, sympathetic,attractive young and favourite with girls. Colorful and great cinematography by Dean Cundey. Modern and unfitting musical score by Anthony Marinelli. The motion picture will like to Western fans. Followed by a sequel titled 'Young Guns II'(Geoff Murphy,1990) with similar players and concerning about Billy and his band heading toward the Old Mexico and pursued by a posse.

The picture is based partially on actual events. These deeds are the following: Billy(Emilio Estevez) became a cowboy in Lincoln County(New Mexico)for cattleman Tunstall(Terence Stamp) along with a young group(Kiefer Sutherland,Charlie Sheen,Lou Diamond Phillips,Dermot Mulroney,Casey Siemaszko). Tunstall was supported by lawyer McSween(Terry O'Quinn). But Tunstall was murdered by rival cattleman Murphy(Jack Palance) and started the Lincoln County War. Billy seeks revenge for his death and he converted an outlaw and nasty gunfighter with a price on his head. Bonney and his gang pull off a hot pursuit against the enemies. Billy, his band and McSween were besieged but he went out firing his gun and made his escape. The Kid was caught and convicted of killing and sentenced to be hanged ; though shackled foot and hand , he managed to getaway from prison by shooting dead the deputies guarding him. Pat Garret(Patrick Wayne), a former friend, was elected sheriff and set off in pursuit to capture him and on 1881 tracked at Fort Sumner and there shot him dead by surprise. Legend says that Billy murdered 21 men in his 21 years of life but is really thought to be much less.
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A semi-successful attempt to revitalise the western genre for a 1980s audience.
barnabyrudge17 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Young Guns is one of the only Hollywood westerns made during the 1980s, where it sits solitarily alongside the likes of Pale Rider and Silverado. By this time, the general public perception was that westerns had nothing new to offer. However, in this bloodthirsty and fast-paced retelling of the Billy The Kid legend, script-writer John Fusco and director Christopher Cain manage to find a few new angles. By populating their film with hot young talent, then cranking up the violence-levels like some modern retread of The Wild Bunch and underscoring the film with a pulsating rock soundtrack, the makers have found a reasonably effective way of breathing fresh life into a tired old story.

Idealistic rancher John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) harbours a plan to recruit the wild and reckless youths of the Wild West to work on his Nebraska ranch. By showing them the care and patience they've never known, he soon gets these seemingly undesirable youths to become conscientious and hard-working ranch-hands, and even provides them with enough basic education to read and write. The plan falls apart when a rival rancher, Lawrence G. Murphy (Jack Palance), hires a gang of desperadoes to kill Tunstall. Following his death, Tunstall's young workers are determined to avenge their mentor. Initially they set about gaining their revenge legally, working as dedicated deputies out to nail those responsible for his murder. But their approach to the job proves so violent and trigger-happy that they themselves are quickly branded as outlaws. Under the leadership of the most hot-headed of their number William Bonney (Emilio Estevez), the youths leave a trail of corpses across the west as they track down their enemies. Soon Bonney earns the nickname Billy The Kid, and he and his gang of "young guns" become the most feared gunslingers around, hunted by the law and the lawless alike.

Young Guns helped to launch quite a few careers. Estevez had already done some decent films prior to this one (Repo Man, The Breakfast Club and Stakeout spring to mind), but this was the first time that he was given the opportunity to grab a role by its throat. Among the many others making a name for themselves are the likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulrooney and Casey Siemaszko. Meanwhile, seasoned old pros like Stamp and Palance provide the kind of expert support that they've done throughout their careers. While the pounding rock score and Brat-pack casting might provoke head-aches among western purists, it makes the film lively and energetic. The shootouts become increasingly stylized as the film draws to its blood-spraying conclusion. This stylization might be off-putting for some, but for others it adds to the film's sense of confident, over-the-top enjoyment. Young Guns is a fairly successful action film which definitely puts the "wild" back into the "west".
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A pack of young stars take on the western legend known as Billy the Kid.
Mickey-26 July 2007
The year is 1870 and the place is Lincoln County in New Mexico territory. A young William H. Bonney is rescued from a possible hanging by John Tunstall, who befriends the youth and makes him part of the family of young guns known as Regulators. This puts Billy in the midst of a territorial dispute between Tunstall and the Santa Fe Ring, led by Lawrence G. Murphy, villainously portrayed by Jack Palance. Another western legend, Pat Garrett, is played by Patrick Wayne, the son, of course, of John Wayne.

After the killing of Tunstall by Murphy's henchmen, the Regulators and Billy hit on all cylinders in extracting revenge for the slaughter of their benefactor. The Regulators are branded as outlaws, and the "legal forces" of Murphy attempt to pare them down to nothing. This leads to a final shootout on the streets of Lincoln, and very few of the original Regulators escape, which leads to the sequel of "Young Guns," appropriately called "Young Guns II." The cast of young and upcoming Hollywood stars include Emilio Estevez as Billy, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Casey Siemaszko, and Dermot Mulroney.

One final note: the DVD includes as part of its special features section a Trivia Track, which flashes western facts and information about the stars or the characters being portrayed on screen without detracting from the viewing of the film. This is worth seeing and owning.
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Not a bad movie until the end
indurain2 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
At the end of the movie, Billy and his gang are holed up in the house of their lawyer which is completely surrounded by hundreds of lawmen, bounty hunters, and the U.S Army. Even Doc says "Billy we're good, but this is getting ridiculous.".

After the house is set on fire, Chavez escapes and somehow sneaks right past the men outside. Billy and his gang exit the house guns a blazin' right in front of a Gatling gun the Army has brought which mysteriously is not used. Chavez rides back with 3 horses, rides right through the men outside, jumps the horses over a barricade, and Billy and Doc somehow manage to mount the horses and ride right through the men down the street with not one shot fired.

Then to top it all off, the lawyer emerges from the house and the Army pumps about 100 bullets into him with the same Gatling gun that for some reason they didn't use on Billy and his gang. It gets better, Billy then rides back, stops in the middle of the street, pops a cap into Murphy, and then rides off with no shots fired at him. Of course the gang then just rides off into the sunset, why would the US Army bother to pursue?

This was a ridiculous, unbelievable ending and completely ruined the entire movie.
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Interesting modern western relies a little too heavily on cliche
bobc-518 July 2001
An Englishman running a New Mexico ranch in the old west recruits wayward young men to be his ranch hands. Among their duties is protecting the ranch from his more powerful and villainous neighbors, thus earning them the title "regulators". Through a combination of discipline and nurturing, he is able to civilize the men and give them discipline. When murdered by another rancher, the regulators are deputized to help catch the men who did it. But one of the regulators, known now as Billy the Kid, is a relative newcomer who has not yet learned self-discipline. Engaged in a power struggle for leadership of the group, he is far more interested in killing the villains than bringing them to justice, thus turning the group into outlaws themselves.

Although the movie is very well made, it never really explores the potential of the plot, relying instead on cliches to entertain us. It also seems completely confused in its portrayal of the main character. Is William Bonney a homicidal maniac or a fiercely loyal man out to avenge the death of a father figure? Is he a caustic head-strong youth or a steely smooth-talking leader? Depending on the scene, you can take your pick. He's clearly supposed to be a sympathetic anti-hero, but this is accomplished only by turning his antagonist into a cartoonishly evil villain, portrayed in perfectly predictable manner by Jack Palance. The shootout scenes are nicely filmed, but as the movie progresses they move more and more towards standard western cliche.

The strongest point of this movie is the relationship of the characters played by Sutherland and Estevez. Doc is strongly attracted to Billy the Kid and admires his strength of character at the same time that he fears him and is repulsed by his murderous actions. Both actors do an excellent job trying to pull this off in spite of the limited development which the script allows. This and the support of a very competent cast makes the film worth watching but not necessarily worth going out of your way for.
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Regulators... Mount Up!
jim_ruuth30 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is (loosely) based on Billy the Kid's adventures during the Lincoln County War, that took place in 1877-1878. The movie has this brat pack feeling to it. filled with fast action scenes and snappy one liners.

The brat pack of gunmen consists of Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez), Dick Brewer (Charlie Sheen), Dirty Steve (Dermot Mulroney), Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland), Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Charley Bowdre (Casey Siemaszko). These young men are a bunch of misfits and gunmen that are gathered under the guidance of English cattle rancher John Tunstall (Terence Stamp). They work and protect his ranch and economic interests and John Tunstall gives the young gunmen food, shelter and an education in return.

The movies main villain is the Irishman Lawrence G. Murphy (played by western movie veteran Jack Palance), whom also is a rancher and merchant and the natural rival to John Tunstall. The rivalry goes bad and John Tunstall is murdered and the movie turns into a tale of revenge. Billy the Kid's gang is deputised after meeting lawyer Alexander McSween (Terry O'Quinn). They were young and inexperienced but they were the only men with guts enough to challenge the terror of Lawrence Murphy, whom had a huge gang following him. The young gunmen takes on the name The Regulators as they ride out to arrest some of the murderers in Murhpy's gang. But hot-headed Billy wants instant justice and starts to murder his enemies and the Regulators are stripped of their badges. Despite becoming outlaws the Regulators keep hunting down Murphy's men while bounty hunters and law men are closing in on them.

The movie is filled with cool and creative shooting scenes, the dialogue is fast and saucy and often really memorable. The movie has a fast pace and there if the movie had been directed by Peter Jackson it would have been 3 times 3 hours long. Young Guns is more fun than your old John Wayne / Clint Eastwood movies. Funny fact is that: Pat Garrett is played by John Wayne's son Patrick Wayne.

The cast is brilliant and Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jack Palance and Emilio Estevez does some of their best work of their careers. The movie doesn't go deep and rarely scratches the surface and at times the dialogue feels more cool than realistic. This western has everything, it's an adventure, it has comedic elements, it's action and it has even got some romance in it. The movie is about friendship and going against the odds as the men keep challenging themselves to grow.

It's a very entertaining movie, It doesn't compare to some of the old Spaghetti westerns out there but it doesn't try either. Young guns was a new brand of Western that we hadn't really seen before. It doesn't follow the real story of Billy the Kid correctly either. There are some fabrications of the truth here and there, but Young Guns come in all guns blazing and it does it with a big grin on it's face. The movie came out when the Western genre was more or less dead and buried, but the movie did pretty well despite scoring bad reviews and it helped revitalise the dead genre a bit.

I've seen more than 100 western movies in my days but I still think that this is the most exciting western movie out there, maybe not the best but definitely one of the few that I can watch over and over again. Movie fans... Mount Up!
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Not as rewatchable as I thought
tastyhotdogs18 June 2006
Saw this for $6.95 once but didn't buy at the time. Didn't see it back at this price for ages and refused to pay more than that for it. A few weeks ago saw it for $3.95 and snapped it up quick.

There's a few reasons why this DVD is so cheap. (A) The quality for a DVD is pretty poor (B) The movie isn't that rewatchable. I hadn't seen it for maybe 10 years and remembered it being way better than it was this time. The only reason I can see for this is due to the star factor. On the DVD they keep going on about how cool the cast is, and back in 1988 they were, problem is nowadays they aren't really still at that elite level.

Charlie Sheen- Is now a sleazy laughing stock

Emilio Estevez- Never did anything of note really after this, except "Young Guns 2"

Lou Diamond Phillips- Also no longer cool, except when he appeared in "24" last season

Kiefer Sutherland- Still cool, but he was wussy in this movie and shattered my Jack Bauer image that he's worked so hard on

If you don't know, the movie is the story of "Billy The Kid", a renegade who went on a killing spree in the old west to avenge the death of a man who took him in and looked after him. The movie has it's moments, and Estevez as "Billy" and Sutherland as "Doc are solid, but there's not much else on offer. Has aged badly, for memory though I think the sequel was much better, so I'll have to go back and see that.
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One of the Most Underrated Westerns Ever
Challenger201314 June 2015
Here is one of the most underrated Western films of all time. What we have here is the untold story of "The Regulators," led by the infamous Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez). The film follows the group of six young men (none of them over 21 years old, but they all look like they're 25 or 30.) The story is quite simple; their guardian is murdered, and they are deputized to find the suspects and bring them in. When Billy goes on a killing spree of the murderers, the boys are on the run from the law themselves.

The great effect of this film is how it mixes exciting Western action with comedy and boyish charm. Each actor plays their part as it is meant to be played, nothing special but still exceptional. Each character also has their defining traits that make them individually likable. One of the most lovable is Doc (Kiefer Sutherland) who is great with the steel, but also claims to be a poet, even though all of his poems are slightly tweaked versions of classic poems by acclaimed authors. Lastly, we are given a wonderful, almost-evil villain played wonderfully by the Western legend, Jack Palance.

This film, being made just before the 1990s, contains new comedic elements for the genre, but is also quite relatable to the classic, beloved Westerns of earlier decades. It doesn't look like other 1980s films aesthetically; it looks more like a technicolor 1950s Western, and it is very refreshing. The film is not necessarily under-watched by Western fans, but does not receive the acclaim it deserves. It's easily one of the most fun Westerns of the last three or four decades.
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Young Guns going for it!
Prismark1015 March 2015
Young Guns was the brat pack western starring some of the brat packers of the late 1980s, well a few were deemed to be seen as rising stars such as Dermot Mulroney and Casey Siemaszko.

The rest are more bona fide brat packers such as Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kiefer Sutherland accompanied by a rock score. However there is also room for western veterans like Jack Palance and Brian Keith.

Estevez is the hot headed Billy the Kid who became regulators when their boss (Terence Stamp) is murdered by Palance's gang.

Now when the film came out some critics were rather sniffy about the film and you have to applaud the movie for shaking the genre up a bit. However it is bewildering silly as well. In the shootout with Brian Keith in the latrine, well they could had just gone round the side to attack him and even from behind. Maybe they needed a reason to write Charlie Sheen out of the movie a third of the way through as he was in demand as an actor at the time.

There is also the silly scene where the characters get high which now looks laughable. Estevez character is supposedly to be fiercely loyal to his slain boss but also appears to be psychotic.

I remember liking the film a lot when it first came out but now it looks dismal. You end up thinking why does Stamp's character want to surround himself with young lost men.

Sutherland's poetic character comes off best but even his romance with the Chinese ward of Palance looks rather odd.
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"Regulators, Saddle Up"
bkoganbing5 August 2008
This retelling of the Billy the Kid saga here and in the succeeding film, Young Guns II, is yet another fictionalized account of the doings in Lincoln County, New Mexico 1878-1879. One fine day we may get an accurate picture of the events.

Here though several young actors some of whom were labeled the Brat Pack and who were coming up roughly around the same time in the Middle Eighties got an opportunity to play some real life western characters. The names of the characters these guys play are real even though the story is highly fictionalized to the extent that not all of them died during the period both films show.

One reason I do like Young Guns is that it does show what is probably the most realistic portrayal of Billy the Kid. Forget Robert Taylor, Johnny Mack Brown, Paul Newman, when you see Emilio Estevez on the screen you are seeing the real Billy, basically a punk who was skilled enough to back up his brag.

Estevez rides with Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, and brother Charlie Sheen. They are the 'regulators' who ride for John Tunstall the British rancher played here by Terrence Stamp.

It was the relationship between Tunstall and his young regulators that villain L.G. Murphy (Jack Palance) touches on. It's certainly led to speculation that these guys were some kind of a gay harem for Stamp. I certainly am not going to comment one way or the other because we just don't know. What's more cause for the animosity is that old country resentment of the English rulers.

What Young Guns essentially does is take the plot of the John Wayne classic Chisum and tell it from the Tunstall/Regulators point of view. Chisum himself is eliminated from the story, though he appears in Young Guns, II played briefly by James Coburn. So if you've seen that, you know what happens.

The young guys are great and Stamp and Palance provide a good pair of antagonists. Brian Keith is around for a memorable performance as Buckshot Roberts, a well known bounty hunter of the period.

Young Guns is a well done western with good editing at a pace that never drags. It's a modern classic not to be missed.
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A wasted opportunity
p-stepien3 January 2011
Delving back into the wild west and the times of Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) is no easy matter. Even more so when we are dealing with the infamous Lincoln County War. In one of the most defining chapters of the wildness of the wild west Billy the Kid joins a group of cattle guards working for an English rancher John Tunstall (Terence Stamp). Despite coming from the shadiest backgrounds Tunstall manages to instill respect and become an almost fatherly figure. However the politics of Lincoln County won't allow for a peaceful happy ending, as Tunstall is murdered in cold blood by his local competitors Murphy and Dolan. In an attempt to bring about justice Tunstall's cowherds are deputised and soon they start bringing about their own bloody version of justice...

After years I managed to return to the densely star-populated "Young Guns" (Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Jack Palance as well as Terry O'Quinn of "Lost" fame). I never remember being overly enthusiastic about the original, but I felt mildly intriguing when finding out that the events in the movie are actually a relatively true recreation of events. Naturally some script liberties have been taken, but I must admit that in this department the movie actually does a bang-up job.

Nonetheless even such a strong story as the Lincoln County Wars, which has the potential of being a defining western movie, is not capable of hiding the multiple flaws of the movie. Emilio Estevez for one is a rather childish and clowny version of the Kid with almost no character development, which makes him feel more like a caricature. That said in general most of his accomplices are very thinly structured. With only a hint of attempting to flesh out the characters the film focuses on the story itself.

But even here the plotting is jumpy and chaotic. Not to mention that the movie in general seems to totally lack heart and conviction. Even the most key scenes are dealt with poorly and with absolutely no artistic integrity (almost as if a made for TV movie). Forced to characterise the movie with one word I would have to chose "lame". Given the absolutely powerful source material driving around corruption, lawlessness of the law and the situation where the victims are turned into outlaws it is absolutely shocking that this disinterested depiction of a legend has become a household movie about Billy the Kid (while some absolutely supreme takes exist - Sam Peckinpah's attempt for one).
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That Guys Killed More People Than Smallpox!
verbusen29 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, you can hear classic lines like the one of the guy who's killed more than smallpox, and my favorite of the whole movie when Billy goes "Hey Colonel Sh**head, ...." that one still cracks me up to no end, if you watch Young Guns! I really dug this flick when it came out on video, and I need to plug it good here for two reasons. First, my parents claim I was playmates with the Sheen (Estevez) boys, because I grew up in Greenwich Village and my parents were running around in the same artsy crowd with Martin Sheen. So I always give those two probably much more credit then they deserve. Second, I made some serious jack playing the end scene to middle aged guys with money to burn on a new thing called Dolby Surround THX in the late 80's to early 90's. The soundtrack if played on a home theater system was so highly exaggerated that you'd have to be deaf not to hear the ricochet's going from front to back! The movie is very light on dead spots. It's made for the teens and attention span was a real factor in its making. There's action just to kill time in this flick and it works, Emilio's snappy dialog and crazy antics make it really interesting, and I also thought Casey had some bits that almost stole the movie for him. Brian Keith, Terrence Stamp, and the great Jack Palance add some legitimacy to also bring it up a notch. I just watched this flick in full on cable at my current job (the "decent" surround systems don't cost $4,000+ anymore so no more commission salesman job for guys like me, I've got a "real" job now, lol), and it brought a tingle up my spine to see that ending again as I remembered every line that was being said. Cool flick for Young Guns like I used to be!
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Decent Western
Idocamstuf27 March 2003
There are plenty of other great, better westerns out there such as: Tombstone and Butch Cassidy, but this one isn't bad. It has a good cast, decent action, and decent scenery. I like most westerns, so I decided to> check this one out, and I wasn't disappointed. If you like westerns and are not too picky, you'll enjoy this one. 6.4 out of 10 sounds about right.
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"I like these odds!"
young gun7 April 2000
Although I like westerns there aren't too many that you can watch over and over again. Young guns 1 and 2 are exceptions. They are without doubt two of the best westerns ever made. They are traditional as they follow the 'rules of westerns' but they differ also, being more based on character than most other westerns. Emilio Estevez was great as Billy, playing him as the legend suggests, attractively wicked and high spirited. These two are my favourite movies of all time and can never be replaced.
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Light Western
jaywolfenstien18 June 2003
Not too serious, but not an all out comedy either. Whether historically accurate, I frankly couldn't tell anyone . . . but I've never been stupid enough to get all my facts from a film anyway. I'm sure the filmmakers took key liberties as filmmakers always do when real life events are involved.

With that aside, my biggest complaint is the music. I dunno, I've never bought into modern pop-music-ish drums, rhythms, and guitars in older tales when such instruments weren't invented. But at the same time I'm not anal enough to care which instruments of the orchestra had been invented for that time period to accurately represent the times. But I think somewhere in between total accuracy and complete unbelievablity there's a happy medium. As much as I like Young Guns, I cringe when the tempo picks up . ..

The ending's constant trips to slow motion and motion distortions is like a forerunner to Matrix's bullet time . . . and it's equally annoying.

Besides that, Young Guns is a fun ride into the old West. It combines drama, comedy, and Western elements to get a unique blend. It has love interests, tragedy, rage, humor, while following a fairly standardized formula (with few bumps thrown in here and there) it never goes to the extreme with the formula. The love drama is never sappy, the comedy never interferes with the more serious tangents, and the tragedy isn't eye-rolling. Young Guns works on all those levels. So kudos to the director for that.

Of course a major factor for why Young Guns works the way it does is due to its rather impressive and capable cast. Some bigger names, some smaller names, but all fit their parts well. Billy, Doc, Dick, and the whole regulator gang both look and act their parts within reason.

So in conclusion, not the most authentic Western, not the best Western, Young Guns doesn't even try for that. It does what it sets out to do, and that's give us one fun ride through the wild and untamed West.
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A really poor western with laughable drama and acting - only watch if you're in the mood for noisy, senseless action
bob the moo18 April 2004
In 1878 rancher John Tunstall takes in a handful of young gunmen to work on his ranch. While he teaches them the value of hard work he also tries to turn them from their violent ways. When Tunstall is murdered by men in the pocket of powerful rancher Murphy. The law is powerless to do anything since the majority of them have been bought by Murphy, but an attorney convinces a judge to make Tunstall's men deputies and allow them to bring in his killers. However when the group go beyond the men they were set after and start going after Murphy himself, they become hunted men - by both those outside and inside the law.

This film is enjoyable in the sense that you can turn it on and relax, never having to worry about thinking or even remaining conscious - hell, I could actually feel brain cells just dying off as I watched it. It is no more than an excuse for the brat pack to ride around shooting guns and having fun - as a western it is pretty poor and as history it is totally, totally bogus! The plot is a series of shootouts punctuated with moments of inane comedy, dramatic subplots that fail and acting that would have been better served with a chunk of pineapple on the side. The story is not true and is pretty poor in terms of structure; the characters are given little bits of drama (Doc's girlfriend, Chavez's history etc) but they don't work and only serve to give the actors something to do to make them feel like they are acting. The action is noisy and simplistic and should really do the job if that's all you are looking for however if you are after anything more than noise you will be disappointed.

It is no secret that this film was just an excuse to bring together the so-called Brat Pack (although in fairness it is more just a collection of young stars). None of their characters really convince and the script just creates them as simplistic and wooden gunmen. The bits of personality that the script does put in are way too modern for the western setting and only serves to damage. Estevez is poor and far too modern and cocky; Sheen is a bit more suited to the genre but sadly isn't the film's focus. Phillips is very hammy and trades off his ethnicity too much - I supposed now that he has 24, Sutherland can look back and laugh at least! Mulroney and Siemaszko are not very good and just fill out the rest of the gang. Stars like Stamp and Palance add a bit of clout but really have little to do and seem to know what sort of film they are in.

Overall this is a very poor film that only serves as a noise for an hour or so. However even as that it doesn't work - too many supposedly `comic' or `dramatic' touches are just rubbish and add nothing to the film except minutes, a problem in a film that cannot fill it's inflated running time. The action is noisy and basic, the characters poor and the audience involvement in the story almost zero. I can understand why they made it but it is a mystery why so it was so popular (marketing it as an event picture probably) given that it has so many faults and so little value.
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Who can resist handsome outlaws?
Cyk29 April 1999
I loved this movie for a variety of reasons. #1, I love westerns. #2, who can resist a cast of cute actors like this? #3, it was surprisingly funny. There are scenes and lines that will make you roll with laughter. Keifer Sutherland does a great job in one of the few roles as a good guy that he plays, and he has some of the funniest lines directed at Emilio Estevez that I've heard in a movie. Filled with action, intrigue, and humor, this is a great movie.
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Childhood memories
Bored_Dragon18 October 2018
I loved this movie as a kid, and I love it still. It is not a masterpiece, but it was never meant to be. It's a good entertainment with interesting interpretations of the famous names of Old West, brought on the big screen by some famous names of the new, such as Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, and Jack Palance. Do not expect too much, just take your popcorn and enjoy the ride.

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