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The Wild Bunch (DC)
DVD disk
Feb 7, 2006 By: Matt Hosack
The Wild Bunch (DC) order
Director:
Sam Peckinpah

Actors:
William Holden
Ernest Borgnine
Robert Ryan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Hailed as one of the greatest westerns of all time, THE WILD BUNCH tells the classic tale of a dying breed of MEN being worn on by history itself. The first World War is around the corner and theres turmoil in Mexico. In the middle of all this is the titular group of outlaws that are best described as the classic cowboys. They rob banks but they stick together as much as possible. Directed by legendary Sam Peckinpah, the movie is riddled with fierce gunplay, large set pieces, hardened characters, and inspired editing. By the end of the film, you can expect nothing less than an all out balls-to-the-walls shootout.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Before I rave about this film, let me first say that it is not the best western Ive ever seen. I enjoyed THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and a handful of Sergio Leone films a lot more than THE WILD BUNCH, but that doesnt degrade the importance of the film. On the contrary, THE WILD BUNCH is one of the most violent westerns ever. My biggest quirk with this film is that it drags way too much between the films explosive beginning and ending. This is made even worse with this longer directors cut. A good 80% of the film follows the groups lounging periods where they bicker and laugh at one another. After experiencing several of these scenes, it REALLY gets old fast.

Why this movie kicks so much ass is that the action blows you away. No one is safe as bad guys, good guys, pedestrians, children, and more bad guys are blown to sh*t. Pekinpah is best described as the John Woo of his generation (but better). The way he shoots action and cuts shots together is just exhilarating. Pekinpah uses a lot of inter-cuts in a way no one else really has and it rocks. Shoot, he even uses inter-cuts to tell a back story in a matter of minutes that other films would take hours doing. Plus you have cool symbolism like ants killing scorpions caroused by children. This is why THE WILD BUNCH stands next to the big boys of westerns.
THE EXTRAS
Disc 1:

Commentary by Peckinpah Biographers/Documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle: A great commentary track delivered here. Not only are these guys fun to listen to but they have great radio voices to boot. These four get you excited about this film and definitely know their stuff! Commentaries are definitely improved when the commentators are excited about their material.

Also included on the first disc are a collection of Pekinpah and James Dean trailers.

Disc 2:

The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage >> 33 min | This is an old 70s featurette which is pretty badass. Featuring lots and lots of old school footage youll get to see a lot more than a modern EPK would give you. Ive always said, they dont make em like they used to.

Sam Peckinpahs West: Legacy of a Holywood Renegade >> 1 hr. 22 min | This is an outstanding doc on Peckinpah and his films. Narrated by Kris Kristofferson, youll have a fun time reliving a legend and his films. Even violence in film is discussed. Dude, everyone form Benicio to Roger Ebert gets in on things. Fun to watch and inciteful.

An Excerpt from A SIMPLE ADVENTURE STORY: Sam Pekinpah, Mexico and The Wild Bunch A Documentary Film by Nick Redman >> 24 min | In the style of a History Channel production, youll get a primo look at the production of THE WILD BUNCH with all of that jazz great documentarians do. A-1.

Outtakes >> 9 min | These are mainly scenery shots set to music. Not bad, not great either.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you love westerns, THE WILD BUNCH needs to be in your collection. The fierce action, battered characters, and gritty storytelling all add up to an in-your-face western. The healthy extras only add to this sets value. The documentaries on disc 2 are well worth the purchase. Great movie. Great commentary. Great Docs. Great DVD!

>>Final Decision: BUY
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