Saturday August 12, 2006
We really haven't had a good enjoyable western since the days of Clint Eastwood and his rough and tumble exterior, but somewhere in the midst of wannabe revivals lays a nice little gem which takes the most enjoyable part of westerns and centers an entire film around it with a great cast of actors.
The Quick and the Dead stars Sharon Stone as Ellen, her rough past and the thirst for revenge has brought her back to the town of Redemption where she had once grown up as a child and the daughter of the Marshall. She has returned to salvage what little of a life she has left by ending the life of the man who originally crippled hers... John Herod.
John Herod (Gene Hackman) is a low life criminal who has made a fortune by robbing people of their lively hood. Herod now owns the town of Redemption and takes whatever he wants from the remaining skeletons of the people in the small town. Ellen's goal of revenge happens to fall right within the time of Herod's annual quick-draw contest, one which offers a prize of $230,000 and the glory of the title of fastest gun in the west. Unfortunately for everyone else Herod is a pretty fast draw, and the competition becomes more of pure entertainment for him as it looks like there is no one quick enough to stop him, except of course his old friend Court.
Court (Russell Crowe) had been apart of Herod's gang in his younger years, but grew sick of Herod's slaughtering of incident people, so he left the gang and became a preacher in hopes of atoning for his past sins. But Herod never forgot Court, nor truly believed he would completely turn his back on his gift of shooting. So Herod forcibly brings in Court and enters him into the contest against his will, he will either participate or die. Court and Ellen appear to be the only two who have any chance of ending Herod's reign of terror on the town, yet can a beaten preacher, and a troubled woman still terrorized by the memories of the past have the courage and the strength to defeat the self proclaimed fastest gun in the west?
I'm a huge Russell Crowe fan and for me this film is a big treat, it's not a usual role for Russell Crowe, it’s a pity he hasn't done more westerns because he really does a great job. My favorite scene is near the end where Court picks off two guys on rooftops with some awesome gun slinging. What I like most about this film is it's highly entertaining and isn't incredibly long. It takes a rather simple plot adds in the mysterious past of Ellen to keep you interested, and has a lot of very entertaining fight scenes.
The cast of characters is rather impressive as Russell Crowe, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman and Leonardo Di Caprio lead the way, followed by a handful of some other well recognized supporting actors. The story is well written, the acting is good, and it's one of my top 10 favorite westerns of all-time!