El Diablo (1990) / Western-Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language and violence
Running Time: 105 min.
Cast: Anthony Edwards, Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Beltran, Joe Pantoliano, John Glover, M.C. Gainey, Miguel Sandoval, Sarah Trigger, Branscombe Richmond
Director: Peter Markle
Screenplay: Tommy Lee Wallace, John Carpenter, Bill Phillips
Review published July 6, 2004
Anthony Edwards ("E.R.", Top Gun) stars as Billy Ray Smith, who has traveled to the Old West from Boston to explore his occupation as a schoolteacher. He spends many a day entertaining his class with tales of Kid Durango, the main character in a series of "true" stories about the quickest shot in the West. One day, Smith's attractive student Nettie (Trigger) is abducted by the ruthless gang led by the feared El Diablo (Beltran, who plays Chakotay on "Star Trek: Voyager"), and when the local sheriff is gunned down, no one wants to do anything about it. Smith decides to do things himself, setting out for assistance from the one man he knows can help him, Kid Durango. Along the way to find Kid, he meets Thomas Van Leek (Gossett Jr., The Punisher), who claims to know Durango's whereabouts, and they meet a few others willing to go along on the quest, not for valor, but for the untold riches of El Diablo's cache of gold.
El Diablo is a slight but amusing made-for-cable Western that should please fans of the genre, but it's little more than a Silverado-esque tongue-in-cheek adventure. Wholly derivative, as most modern Westerns tend to be, this manages to be entertaining due to its likeable cast, and some wonderfully quirky writing, which was co-written by none other than John Carpenter, director of other genre-busting B-movies like Big Trouble in Little China and Assault on Precinct 13. It's nothing special, but it's all in fun, and fans of the stars (particularly of Gossett) will enjoy this even more. Expect little and be modestly entertained for a couple of hours.
©2004 Vince Leo