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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

The Quick and the Dead, 1998  

Review: written 2006

Entertaining comic book style Western

Sam Raimi was still untamed by Hollywood, and determined to be as innovative as possible, when he did this Western. The overall memory you will take away with you, is not the performances (which are fine, but hampered by the shallow characterisation in the script) but the distinctive angles and point of view shots that made the Evil Dead series so memorable.

The story is stolen from a number of different famous spaghetti Westerns - virtually everything you see could be described as an homage to one spaghetti Western or other, such as Sharon Stone's motivation, which is almost straight from 'Once Upon a time in the West. Even the music has Jews harps and cracking whips... Sadly, the effect is only to remind you that they don't make them like they used to. ...

The story is uncomplicated - Sharon Stone is the (wo)man with no name who rides into town bent on revenge, with the town mayor (Gene Hackman) in her sights. Hackman rules the town with an iron fist, and he has organised a gunfight competition, bringing the fastest shootists around to win the cash prize. Also in the competition are his son (Leo DeCaprio) and unwilling participator The Preacher (Russell Crowe).

Sharon Stone had a producers role here, and insisted on the casting of then-unknowns Leonardo DeCaprio, and Russell Crowe.. the casting alone is enough reason to buy this film. Gene Hackman gives a menacing performance, and Stone is OK, but truth be told unconvincing in the role.

In short, this is a wild ride of a film, with lots to enjoy in the acting line-up and highly stylised visual look. Just don't expect something thought provoking - This is a comic book style version of a Western.. it's ironic that Raimi had an even more comic book style here than he did in Spiderman! Well worth its budget cost for the curiosity value..





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