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Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Emilio Estevez
Kiefer Sutherland
Lou Diamond Phillips
Charlie Sheen.
Christopher Cain.
John Fusco.
Running Time
102 minutes

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Young Guns

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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.

Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Young Guns
Empire Star Rating


This was a good idea and they need to remake the two films. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spartan24 at 18:10, 21 March 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Young Guns

Excellent films, the sequel is more stylish and Estevez add's more depth to his character, but this is a rocking original with some great lines in it. ... More

Posted by iconzero at 15:29, 12 October 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Young Guns

A romping good western, seen it about 1000 times... When it came out I bought a trench coat and an air rifle.. Started throwing knives around and took magic mushrooms....   "Did you guys see the size of that chicken!!"       ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Juju boy at 15:00, 08 October 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Young Guns

Nathan giving this 2 Stars is shocking, Estevez is the best Billy The Kid ever, looks like Nathan just jumped on the bandwagon of people who don't like the brat pack ... More

Posted by JustinFox at 09:59, 08 October 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Young Guns

I thought Sutherland's character was mopey. I have a special place for this film, though I haven't seen the sequal in a long time. I will stand by Ian Nathan in regard to his comments on Estevez's "Billy-The-Kid", which for me lacked focus and sophistication and a possible overall edge of dense emotion that could have been delivered - the kids parents were killed in front of his very eyes, and he was later left to fend for himself in a developing world. Where's the turmoil? I always though... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Monkey Wrench at 22:09, 06 August 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Young Guns

This was always my favourite film when I was young. I remember watching it when I was about eleven and it blew me away. The classic cast, the ripping story and that sad but brilliant ending. Its also got a great movie score. It addicted me to Western movies. I just loved the rebellious nature of the 'Regulators' and the live fast die young attitude.  It never seems appreciated by the critics but I personnaly think its undoubtly one of my favourite films, and unlike loads of movies ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Geek at 07:37, 04 August 2006 | Report This Post

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