The Quick and the Dead
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A mysterious woman (Stone) makes her way back to an unruly old west town in order to enroll in its annual gunfight contest. Seeking revenge against Herod (Hackman), the man who rules the town with an iron fist and a lead bullet, she finds her true nature altered by the senseless death surrounding the township.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As a western purist, I avoided seeing this film during its initial theatrical release. The thought of a woman gunslinger not named Calamity Jane was too much for a poor soul such as me to handle. It turns out that I was (as usual, some would say) wrong to miss out on what turned out to be a pretty good time. Not only did Sharon Stone remind me of how much I miss her, but she also portrayed her character as one that was smart, witty, funny and deeper than you would imagine in a movie that pretty much revolves around people plugging each other full of bullets. It’s a shame she’s disappeared of late because even though I never found her to be on the top-list in terms of acting abilities, she's always come through with flying colors when it came to entertainment, charisma and just plain being sexiness.
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD is also a great opportunity to catch both Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe before they became Hollywood mega-stars. Before Crowe took on the Roman Emperor, before DiCaprio won that unfortunate ticket for a short ride on a long boat and before both earned reputations as Hollywood’s biggest lady-killers. DiCaprio is charming, as usual, as a young gunslinger seeking respect from his father by enrolling in the contest. He’s also quite an efficient source for nearly all the comic relief in the film. On the other hand, Crowe’s character, a repentant outlaw turned preacher, offers less laughs but a lot more ass-kicking and some great chemistry with Stone. Rounding off the cast and stealing the show though is the unmatchable Gene Hackman, who masters the role of the nasty to perfection and who believably inspires terror among all other characters and all inhabitants of “his” town.
This is a film that moves at a decent pace for just over an hour and a half. Sam Raimi does a great job (as usual) of keeping everything tight and exciting. There’s enough character development here to keep viewers interested, but it doesn’t go into so much detail as to slow the whole thing down. Throw in some really neat camera effects, point-of-view shots, cool gunfight montages, a couple of old west whores and a bit of Pat Hingle (Clint Eastwood fans will appreciate that one) and you’ve got yourself one heckuva good time at the home theater.
If you consider getting a film in Superbit to be anything special, then it’s your lucky day because that’s all you get.
This movie is a great time to watch but the DVD doesn’t offer anything to write home about and since I’m not really comfortable recommending Superbit as a reason to buy something, you pretty much have to go by what you think of the film. It is pretty short and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy it after repeated viewing (especially Hackman, he’s a blast to watch). This movie is at least worth a rental, but if you’ve enjoyed watching it, it certainly isn't a title that you would regret buying either.