The Quick and the Dead (1995) / Western-Action
MPAA Rated: R for violence, brief nudity and language
Running Time: 107 min.
Cast: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobin Bell, Roberts Blossom, Kevin Conway, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Gary Sinise
Director: Sam Raimi
Screenplay: Simon Moore
Review published April 28, 2001
A lady gunslinger (Stone, Casino) enters a town in the grip of a powerful and merciless killer (Hackman, Unforgiven). While there, it's decided for several people in the town to have a "drawing" competition, where two of the gunmen must have a gun duel to the death when the clock strikes. The woman sees this as prime opportunity to avenge her father's death and kill the ruler of the town. In a subplot, there is the preacher named Cort (Crowe, Gladiator), who has a sordid past of his own and who is forces by the tyrant to enter the competition or die.
Raimi (Spider-Man, For the Love of the Game) tries to give his film spaghetti western treatment with his trademark style-over-substance direction, but not much can really be done with a plot this dumb and a script as trite, no matter how many zoom shots are thrown in. The likeable characters and believable performances almost make up for the lack of a compelling story, but ultimately the film rings hollow, and even the emotional scenes fall painfully limp. This grand waste of time and talent could have been more aptly named The Slick and the Brain-dead.
©2001 Vince Leo