The Quick and the Dead (1995)

In Sam Raimi's THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, Sharon Stone stars as a squinty
eyed gunslinger-- a Woman of Few Words, if you will, who rides into the
town of Redemption (!) to compete in a quick-draw contest.  She's really
there to kill the man who runs the town (Gene Hackman), but don't tell
him that.  He's busy trying to wreak revenge on his former partner
(Russell Crowe).  And don't mess with The Kid (Leonardo DiCaprio), a
cocky upstart who also wants a shot at playing Quickdraw McGraw.

Sound familiar?

THE QUICK AND THE DEAD forces the question of why we like to watch
westerns.  With so many cliches bumping heads-- including Pat Hingle as
a bartender!-- we know exactly how the story is going to be played out.
We know the speeches, and the stances, and the fact that the bad guys
are going to get it, and get it good.  That's why we're here, and that's
why this film is so disappointing-- because it tries to change what's
tried and true.

The story softens our hero by giving her feelings and that's a mistake.
Instead of the standard "slow-burn," where Stone would brood for a
couple hours before killing her quarry, we have watch her wallow in
self-doubt and fear.  Her "human side" robs the story of strength.  No
longer does the story have a solid center and, so, the film immediately
falls flat.  Give Ms. Stone credit, though, for *trying* to be tough.
She's cute and, with less dialogue, may have been something worth

Cult director Sam Raimi (DARKMAN, ARMY OF DARKNESS) tries to compensate
by digging deep into his bag of tricks.  He gives us cool shots and
wacky special effects, such as huge bullet holes that let sunshine
through.  He's clearly in his element, but the story structure works
against him.  Flashbacks are used to flesh out Stone's character and
they disrupt the momentum.  What was wrong with just showing what
happened at the beginning of the film?  Open with a flashback and you
*still* have suspense, Sam.

The remaining technical credits are all aces.  THE QUICK AND THE DEAD
looks great.


Grade: C+

Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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