Young Guns Review

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When their mentor and father-figure John Tunstall is shot dead by a local cattle-rancher rival, his wards unite as deputies to arrest the villain who has the local sheriff in his pay. But when one of their number, Billy The Kid, shoots them dead instead the gang have to turn outlaw.


This noisy Brat Pack Western ends up suffocated by flip MTV editing and the frathouse atmosphere of a bunch of young actors having a gas hanging out and playing cowboys. In fact, the one thing, this film never feels like is a real Western, just a giddy action flick bouncing to an endless succession of shoot-outs and horseback chases mounted with about as much similarity to the traditions of John Ford as the Marx Brothers. This is a cheesy, silly, smug movie.

Out of this parade of preened young actors, only really Emilio Estevez, who does have the best role of loose-hinged Billy The Kid, makes much an impression. He plays it thick with beaming personality, but little sophistication — we learn nothing of this fabled killer. Then, the movie has nothing but its marketing gimmick to show for itself. Kiefer Sutherland mopes around a bit, Lou Diamond Philips displays the kind of charisma that would pioneer his career in straight to video dustbins, and Charlie Sheen (who was, ostensibly, the biggest star in the pack) looks out-of-sorts because he doesn’t get any gags. Does anyone remember Casey Siesmasko? Didn’t think so. Even Dermot Mulroney has been heard from since.

Although, set in the 1870s, Christopher Cain gives it the crisp, bland sheen of the 1980s, his landscapes are rather humdrum considering what is on offer, and his care and attention to character non-existent. Star-power made it grabbed enough attention to warrant a sequel, which on closer inspection turned out to be a better film, but it didn’t take much.

Good idea to cast the brat pack in a Western but this was badly realised and altogether a bit flat.