DIRECTOR: Christopher Cain
May Contain Spoilers!
Being only ten in 1988, the 18 rated Young Guns was a little beyond me at the time. So it has taken 24 years for me to catch up with this take on the Billy The Kid story. To be honest, even though I knew that Billy was in this film, I had no idea that this was a true story, thinking that it was a work of fiction using the real character.
The cast is made up from the usual suspects, not literally of course, from the ubiquitous Brat Pack, with Emilio Estevez (Billy The Kid) and brother Charlie Sheen leading the way. The action is brutal, as is the tone which seems to set out from day one, with the intention to shock us out of the genre expectations.
This is making a clear statement that Young Guns a not a John Wayne western, nor a classical film but a new age and cool take on the well-worn genre. It works too, but it would ultimately be Kevin Costner’s, Dances With Wolves which would bring resurrect the western, by glorifying the era and the genre as epic, rather than a fun shoot’em up, cowboys and indians genre, which it had been.
Both styles work, but Young Guns is attempting to update the genre of their parents who no doubt played with toy six shooters as children, and saw the west as a lawless and escapist genre, rather than a historical time of vistas and deep pretentious meaning. Even How The West Was Won, with its Cinerama wide-angles and love of the westward bound pioneers, still enjoyed the cliché’s and so does Young Guns.
This is a good blend of action, cool and historical intrigue. Well worth catching up with.