Young Guns II (1990)


I Shall Finish the Game.

Yesterday was bad times for me.  I got myself all set to have some fun reviewing a movie that was generally regarded as a classic western, only to be let down when it did nothing for me.  But there was a sequel to this movie that may fix it for me.  Unfortunately, Rotten Tomatoes claims this movie is even worse than the first movie.  …Damnit.  Well, Chris requested the first one, and I already own the second one, so I’m going to do it anyway.  And that’s how I came to review Young Guns II, written by John Fusco, directed by Geoff Murphy, and starring Emilio Estevez, William Petersen, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christian Slater, Alan Ruck, Viggo Mortensen, R. D. Call, James Cobern, Balthazar Getty, Ginger Lynn Allen, Scott Wilson, and Tracey Walter.

An old guy named Brushy Bill Roberts tells an attorney that he would like to get the pardon that was promised to him when he was younger, back when he was known as William H. Bonney, or Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez).  We jump into an hour and a half long flashback that starts with Billy after the dissolution of the Regulators, now working with “Arkansas” Dave Rudabaugh (Christian Slater) and Pat Garrett (William Petersen).  Billy agrees to meet with Governor Lew Wallace (Scott Wilson), and then agrees to testify against the Murphy faction from the first movie to receive a pardon, but soon finds that it was just a trick to arrest him.  While escaping, he finds that his old partners in the Regulators, Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) and Jose Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) were also captured, so he saves them as well.  His gang decides it’s time to head to Mexico to escape their troubles, but without Pat Garrett, who takes a job as Lincoln County Sheriff to hunt down Billy and kill him for $1000.

This movie actually worked out a little bit better for me.  I still wouldn’t call it a great movie, but it was more fun and much more enjoyable than the movie that came before it.  It was more fun this go around, but still a completely confused story.  They still weren’t able to keep on any coherent story.  Billy gets arrested, reunites with his friends, tries to go to Mexico, changes his mind, gets arrested again, escapes again, and the story goes on like this.  What sets this story apart from the first movie is that it was a little more fun to watch.  The action was realized in a better way that made them more exciting.  The emotional scenes were also allowed to have the weight to mean something to us.  What an interesting idea to let emotional scenes have some weight!  This would come mostly from Billy’s growing feelings that his time as an outlaw was coming to an end, his feelings of betrayal from what Pat Garrett was doing, and the loss of some of his friends.  But the new director of this movie knew how to film and cut this so that it would work for the audience.  I was also a fan of the bookending with Billy as an old man telling the story to the attorney, and even more of a fan of the fact that they didn’t overdo it.  The dialogue was also greatly improved for this movie.  The only thing I kept thinking while watching the first movie was that I thought Billy was supposed to say, “I’ll make you famous,” at some point, and it never came.  That’s because it was in this movie.

The performances were relatively unchanged as the actors were relatively unchanged.  Emilio Estevez still played Billy like he really enjoyed his own company, regardless of the relatively low percentage of funny things that were coming out of his mouth.  But that being the character he was going for, I can’t criticize it.  I still liked Lou Diamond Phillips the most because his character was the most awesome.  Dude takes a giant knife through the forearm and doesn’t even flinch!  Kiefer Sutherland replaced his lame moments of lovey-doveyness with being a bit of a complainer.  I had no issues with William Petersen as Pat Garrett, but I did take issue with Christian Slater as “Arkansas” Dave Rudabaugh.  Why would anyone ever let this guy on their team?  He was always acting like he was running the team or doing something horrible to piss off someone on the team, specifically Chavez.  He was a pretty irritating and unnecessary addition to the team.

Young Guns II had similar story problems to its predecessor, but was able to infuse a little more fun and enjoyment into the movie to help me see more of how people might actually like this movie.  I still wouldn’t say that I loved the movie as it seems some people do with the Young Guns movies, but it was okay, and far superior to first movie.  If you’re going to watch one, make it this one.  Young Guns II gets “I’ll make you famous” out of “When troubles come, they come not single spies but in battalions.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Young Guns (1988)


I Sure Would Like to Touch the Gun That’s Gonna Kill Billy the Kid.

Apparently I had been neglecting a request made by Chris from a while back that he recently reminded me of on my fan page.  I get a pretty good amount of requests recently and sometimes they just slip my mind.  If I don’t write them down, I’ll probably never remember them.  So when he reminded me, I felt like I should get to it pretty quickly lest the poor fellow feel forgotten and take his life.  I can’t have that blood on my hands.  The movie he requested was fairly easy to grant too, because I already owned it.  The problem is that I had no recollection of the movie whatsoever.  It’s generally regarded as a classic movie, and always regarded as a Western.  I like classics just fine, but I’m a big fan of Westerns, so it seemed like a good idea anyway.  But how could I not remember anything about a movie that is so popular?  Maybe I can find out as I review Young Guns, written by John Fusco, directed by Christopher Cain, and starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terence Stamp, Jack Palance, Terry O’Quinn, Alice Carter, Patrick Wayne, Brian Keith, Sharon Thomas, and Geoffrey Blake.

An Englishman in Lincoln County, New Mexico by the name of John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) rescues a young man named William H. Bonney (Emilio Estevez) who was being chased by some men in the employ of Tunstall’s competitor, Lawrence Murphy (Jack Palance).  Tunstall takes him back to work on his ranch alongside other such lawless young men like Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland), Jose Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips), Richard M. “Dick” Brewer (Charlie Sheen), “Dirty” Steve Stephens (Dermot Mulroney), and Charlie Bowdre (Casey Siemaszko).  After a while, the conflict between Tunstall and Murphy comes to a head when Murphy sends his men to gun down Tunstall in cold blood.  Billy and the Regulators, as they start to call themselves, get themselves deputized to get warrants against the men who shot Tunstall, but Billy decides he’d rather just kill them instead of arresting them.  This practice soon makes them outlaws, and their exploits as outlaws soon earns Bonney the moniker of “Billy the Kid”.

I imagine this is going to hurt the feelings of some of the dedicated fans of this movie, but I have no idea what anyone likes about this thing.  I felt the need to double check with Rotten Tomatoes just to find out if I was crazy or not.  The critics agree with me, the fans agree with themselves.  I can’t say that there was anything in this movie that interested me in the slightest.  The story is a typical western, as best I can tell.  Someone shoots someone, other people don’t like it, and they go on a rampage for revenge.  But there was nothing in that rampage that was remotely interesting to me.  The story was scattered as they often seemed to lose focus on their goal in the movie.  One could assume that their goal was to kill Murphy, but they spent the bulk of the movie doing everything in their power to avoid actually taking care of that issue until it was forced on them in the last scenes of the movie.  That’s when it seemed Billy remembered what he was trying to do.  It wasn’t even an exciting climax to the movie.  They tried to infuse it with some emotional impact by having some of the main characters die, but poor writing and worse direction removed all impact from their deaths.  Being so distracted from their goals wouldn’t be an issue if what they did in the meantime was interesting, but it wasn’t.  It was usually just hiding from or killing random dudes associated with Murphy, or wasting time hanging out in a random town or doing peyote.  The peyote scene was a vaguely amusing bit of distraction, but I was probably more amused by the stupidity of leaving your weapons loaded when you decide to trip on balls on peyote.  But the real stupidity can be found in some of the dialogue.  The best example is something that the Asian girl (who was the star of another long bit of distraction from anything interesting) said to Doc.  In reference to him bringing her flowers that she turned down, she later says, “I keep the flowers in a little room inside my heart, and you visit me frequently there.”  Fer reals, bitch?  I know English is supposed to be your second language, but I think you just uttered the dumbest sentence I’ve ever watched come out of someone’s mouth.

The performances in the movie were not to blame for its boringness.  They all did admirable jobs, but had no control over the story or the direction.  Emilio Estevez usually came off as not taking any situation seriously, and that worked on my nerves on occasion, but as best I can tell that’s what Billy the Kid was like.  Kiefer Sutherland was usually a good character, but any time that he was interacting with Alice Carter was not.  He would recite poetry and usually seemed desperate.  I think I’d say I liked Lou Diamond Phillips’ character the best.  He was not usually the forefront of the characters, but was usually pretty badass when he was up front.

It’s probably not a popular sentiment about a pretty popular movie, but I have no idea why anyone remembers this movie.  It might have been a little bit cooler at the time, but watching it for the first time today I found it terribly boring, poorly written, and directed even worse.  The performances were all fine, but they couldn’t save the movie for me.  I was just bored all the way through.  Apparently, many others see something that I don’t, so I don’t know that I’d say you shouldn’t watch this movie, but I certainly don’t recommend it.  We’ll see if Young Guns 2 does anything for me tomorrow.  For today, Young Guns gets “Charley, if you don’t stand up and start whooping ass, you ain’t never gonna see her again” out of “It ain’t easy having pals.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.