60/60 Extra: The Quick And The Dead.

Note: 60/60 Extras will be reviews of other well-known films that I check out for whatever particular genre or theme of the month that I'm focusing on at the time.


A while back, I heard the ladies of Reel Insight Podcast talk about this film... rather unfavorably. But how can that be? Between the director, cast, and premise, it sounded awesome. Ellen (Sharon Stone) is a mysterious woman who rides into the town of Redemption looking to take vengeance on John Herod (Gene Hackman), the town's tyrannical gunslinger who makes sure things go his own way. He hosts a gunslinging tournament where opponents challenge each other every day, knocking the bracket down until there is only one left. Also pulled into the fray is Cort (Russell Crowe), a preacher who used to be a bad gunslinger himself; Cantrell (Keith David), an assassin; Ace Hanlon (Lance Henriksen), a self-proclaimed badass; Scars (Mark Boone Jr.), an escaped convict; Dog Kelly (Tobin Bell), a stupid outlaw; and the Kid (Leonardo DiCaprio), who has a special tie to Herod himself. The film also stars Gary Sinise as Ellen's father.

The story is basically like if you took Mortal Kombat, removed the mystical elements, and put it in the old west. And the characters are colorful. But the story and the characters--despite being interesting in theory--share the same flaw: they're cliche to the point of boring. From the western angle, the movie takes just about every cliche in the book and slaps it across your face. And this is coming from a guy who doesn't watch a lot of westerns. Hell, I knew Leo's character was gonna refer to himself as the Kid before it even came out of his mouth. The idea of a "game" or "tournament" is fun--Battle Royale is one of my favorite books--but all the fights here are almost exactly the same. There's nothing interesting to differentiate between them. And the characters are just cardboard cutouts. The best relationship is actually the one between DiCaprio and Hackman.

I don't entirely think the movie was casted wrong, though. For the most part, the actors did well. I think they could have explored the duality of Sharon Stone's Ellen a little more, giving us more on how conflicted she is on the inside in comparison to how stoic she tries to be on the outside. And I normally don't care for Russell Crowe, but he was good enough in this (maybe because he doesn't say all that much). Leo also does well. But it was most interesting seeing (very little of) Tobin Bell, especially at the beginning when he's threatening to kill Sharon Stone. I was waiting for the scene to change and show her in a Jigsaw trap... or that there was gonna be a big twist at the end.

Honestly, I think the movie's biggest fault lies in its director. Don't get me wrong, I love Sam Raimi. Between the Evil Dead films, the Spider-Man films, and Drag Me To Hell, he's done some great stuff. And you can definitely see his eye in this film. But it was totally the wrong eye needed. Between the constant zoom-ins of the camera and some wacky, over-the-top and out-of-place moments (the big hole in the head, the hole in the shadow, the one-shot-flips-man-over-and-back bit, etc.), there were just some strange directorial decisions. And the tone would shift because of this from semi-serious drama to wacky action flick. It just felt strange. And it probably could have been 15 minutes shorter than it was--not sure how, but it could have been.

Overall, despite the action, the movie seemed to drag, most likely due to monotony. The acting was good and the story was good, but I think it was all just executed wrong. I know I haven't said all that much, but this movie wasn't really all that deep to begin with. It certainly wasn't bad, but I think in different hands, it could have been better (which it saddens me to say). I was actually going to rate it a little higher, but the more I reflect on it as I write this, the lower the score sinks. So I think I'm just gonna go ahead and leave it at that.

Stop Saying OK! OK.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.