Movie Review: Young Guns

Posted: February 15, 2010 in Movie Review, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

Young Guns (1988 Morgan Creek Dir. Christopher Cain)


The most accurate portrayal of the Lincoln Country Cattle War and the early career of Billy The Kid that the 80s ever produced. That is saying something! Mostly it says that there weren’t many movies about Billy the Kid made in the 80s, but it is something to say. Actually, as far as I know, it gets the attitude right even I most of the facts are off. Even in that sense, the fact tend to be off for reasons of movie making. You can’t have 25 people and put together a coherent team movie. In order to give everyone a personality, you have to keep it to less than seven. Otherwise, people just get lost in the mix. Reality has to take a back seat for storytelling. Of course, it doesn’t need to be duct taped and tossed in the truck. In this movie, it is duct taped, but kept in the back seat where you can see it struggling.


All at once, everyone realized that none of them had actually read the script.

This is actually one of those movies that does exactly what it says on the tin. It says that this is going to be a rock n roll version of the old west with a lot of hot young stars. That’s exactly what it is, and then some. It’s got a great opening credit sequence, which kind of defines what the whole movie is going to be. In many ways, that’s it right there. If you think that section looks dumb, then you can pretty much stop right there. If you’re worried about seeing drug use and young men visiting brothels, then you might have some trouble. However, if these things don’t bother you, then you’re likely to have a very good time. The guys are young, good looking and filled with a certain energy that was lacking at the time, but this was before the youth market got to be so damn arrogant as to be unbelievable.


Nope, can’t remember what we’re supposed to be doing here.

It starts with Billy The Kid being taken in by John Tunstall, played by Terence Stamp. You’ve got a bit of historical inaccuracy here in that Stamp looks to be about 50 and Tunstall was only about 25 when he died and kicked off the range war. It’s not the last inaccuracy, but that’s okay because it works as a film. If you can let the history go, you can probably enjoy this. The drama is a little light, but as a tale about young boys in trouble, it does well enough. It’s a quick moving western, with a simple but effective through line and a love story that doesn’t work for me. A lot of 80s love stories don’t work for me though, because they tend to shoe horn them in. I know the music was a replacement score, but I really like how the music is used here.


The badge dropped from the production, having grown disgusted with the rest of the cast.

The DVD is okay. It’s got a commentary, a few little documentaries and some other nice bits. I like the movie, but I’m not really inspired to talk about it that much at the moment. I know, it’s kind of a cop-out, but I think you’ll forgive me because you know I’m going to start having to space these out more soon. Almost out of archive stuff. What should be said though is that this is a pretty good movie to watch if you want to see a decent western. Not the greatest ever made, but it’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty entertaining so long as you keep in mind that it is going to have a sort of rock music 80s score to it. Beyond that, no problem.


Do any of you guys remember my lines?

Official Score:
37 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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