THERE WILL BE MANY SPOILERS. THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING.
Movie I got sucked into this week for no apparent reason: The Quick and the Dead
Starring: Gene Hackman (Herod), Sharon Stone (The Lady), Russell Crowe (Cort), and Leonardo DiCaprio (Kid)
Synopsis (from IMDB): Lady avenger returns to western town owned by a ruthless gunslinger hosting an elimination tournament.
My Rating: 3 Stars
5 An All-Time Favorite
4 Excellent Movie (not one I would watch over and over)
3 Entertaining (has some redeeming quality that sucks me in)
2 Hope I Never Have to See Again
1 Two Hours of My Life I Will Never Get Back (but will probably watch again)
This is Russell Crowe’s first movie in the states. Nobody knew him. L.A. Confidential (4 Stars) won’t come out for two more years. When it does people will think, “Where the hell did this guy come from?” He came from The Quick and the Dead, people. I don’t know how you didn’t see it coming. His hair alone could catapult him to fame.
The “lady avenger” is played by Ms. Sharon Stone who completely rocks these awesome leather chaps almost the entire movie. I mean if I looked this good in my chaps…yeah, I would probably need five or six more inches of leg. Her character should be kick ass, and she does have her moments, but definitely the weakest link in this movie.
Leo is soooo young. Like Crowe, he is two years away from his Titanic (3 Stars) role, but it’s practically the same character. All cocky and smart-ass.
Gene Hackman. Is it really possible that the last movie this guy did was in 2004? Apparently, he announced his retirement from acting in 2008. Who knew? He has 99 movies to his credit on IMDB. The only three characters I ever liked: Jim McGinty (The Replacements – 3 Stars), Coach Norman Dale (Hoosiers – 5 Stars), and Reverend Scott (The Poseidon Adventure – 5 Stars). Note: He was also very good playing characters I hated.
Obviously, the lady rides into town wanting some sort of revenge on Herod, who is a ruthless sonofabitch that everyone cowers before. It’s definitely personal.
Why People Didn’t Like This Movie
Implausible Plot 1. Why would a man who already has complete control of a town, decide to throw AND PARTICIPATE IN a gunslinger tournament? Allegedly, this is all to force Cort (who has become a preacher) to kill people again, like back in the good ol’ days when they were buds. I don’t get it.
Implausible Plot 2. The lady can’t bring herself to just shoot Herod during one of her millions of chances, but she can participate in a tournament where she will be forced to shoot/kill at least three other people she doesn’t even know before having the chance to face off with him in an unfair gunfight.
Implausible Plot 3. The Lady sleeps with the Kid.
Implausible Plot 4. The Lady doesn’t sleep with Cort. Did she not notice his hair?
Crowe is trying unsuccessfully to hide his New Zealand accent in some sort of old west boarding school accent. He would probably have gotten away with it if the writing wasn’t completely and utterly horrendous, causing you to cringe every 30 seconds or so.
Why I Liked This Movie
Despite the implausible plots (including those not mentioned), bad accents, and atrocious writing; I really do like this movie. And it all comes down to the last 10-15 minutes.
We have already found out that not only is Herod responsible for the death of the lady’s father, the former Marshall of the town, but he had given her the chance to save him. The ten-year-old Ellen was given a pistol and told if she could shoot the rope that had her dad strung up, he could live. Ellen ends up shoot her dad in the head. So, yeah, she had issues.
But now she is allegedly dead – killed by Cort in the semi-final round. And Cort’s been pretty much beaten to a pulp by Herod’s henchman, which displeases Herod to no end, leading to my first favorite scene.
Herod tells Ratsy he has 15 seconds to get out of there and Ratsy runs off like a scared rabbit, while Herod continues to calmly taunt Cort and seems to forget about the chicken shit. Then out no where he yells “Times up, Ratsy!” grabs a rifle from another henchman, fires a shot to bring down the man more than 100 yards away and tosses the rifle back. All in about 1.5 seconds. Perfectly choreographed.
So then as Herod and Cort are about to draw there are all sorts of explosions and what not, because of course the lady faked her death with some ink from a blind kid and a little white lie from the town’s doctor, an old family friend. Of course.
Then the second best scene is Cort’s little killing spree of the remaining henchmen, proving that he most definitely still has some skill. It’s like kung fu moves, with old revolvers and rifles.
Then you’ve got the lady’s big reveal to Herod and her calling him out.
Herod: “You’re not fast enough for me.”
Lady: “Today I am”
Then Herod looks down and sees the hole in his shadow, which is impossible because the sun is practically overhead so he wouldn’t even have a shadow, but it’s all good. And she blows him away again, just in case he thought he wasn’t dead. Then she picks up the Marshall badge she had flung at him and tosses it back to Cort, whose razor sharp reflexes nab it.
“The law’s come back to town.” And she leaves. She LEAVES! Without smooching Cort! Or asking him where he gets his hair done!
And yet, I will watch again. What is wrong with me?