The town of Redemption is quite the kooky place, especially come the annual Quick Draw competition, which pits the fastest guns in the area against each other with the lure of big cash prizes.
Everyone in the story has a backstory that demands attention, and everyone in the competition has a secret to tell.
The primary character is (unfortunately) Sharon Stone as Ellen, who wants to appear tres cool and composed, but ultimately proves far more interesting with her top off than as a steely eyed woman driven by revenge. Yes as with all 90s movies Stone is eventually and inevitably naked.
The other principal characters are Cort (Russell Crowe), an unwilling participant torn between his past and current status as a preacher who abhors violence, the ‘Kid’ (Leonardo DiCaprio), a gung-ho cocky youth seeking to make a name for himself and to emerge from his Father’s shadow, and Herod (Gene Hackman), the unofficially-official boss of the town, host of the competition, and father of the ‘Kid’.
Ellen bones one, nearly another, and wants to kill the last. You work out who is who.
Being directed by Sam Raimi means that The Quick and the Dead is stylised and fast moving, that the dialogue is salty without over-stepping the mark, and the characters are broad and colourful. So colourful that it’s like the United killers of Benetton are in town to sponsor the event.
Once we know the identities it is all about the gun fights. Long, drawn out affairs that are lovingly analysed from every off-kilter angle by Raimi, utilising long slow crowd pans and more zooms than an F1 race, this despite the fact that there is rarely any doubt as to who will emerge victorious.
Sam revels in the seemingly endless moments before things go bang, I just wish he spent as much time trying to make the rest of the film so interesting. Hackman hams his way through his Black Hat role, DiCaprio gives it his all to stand out as the cocky impetuous youngster and Crowe broods his way through an early role, but Stone is miscast as the central figure, as the 90s proved she is (WAS!) easy on the eye and apparently quite smart in real life, but simply not interesting enough to carry a film – at least while clothed.
Final rating – 6 / 10. The Quick and the Dead has much going for it upon first glance, and the actors, flourishes and visuals are all nice. But it’s just a movie, and set aside the names on the poster and you quickly realise that it isn’t really a good one.