I hate when movie critics defend movies they enjoy by denigrating the intelligence or cinematic knowledge of those people who disagree with them. Having said that, I feel that Sam Raimi's 'The Quick and the Dead' is a vastly underrated mini-classic and if you don't think so, then you're a big dumb moron.Just caught this one again on cable, and I think it's becoming one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures. I know it's kinda hollow in the plot department, but there are just way too many cool things in this movie! (I look at it as kind of a Western version of Big Trouble in Little China - just throw all the clichés in a bowl, mix 'em up, and come out fighting.)
The bare-bones plot revolves around the annual shootout in the town of Redemption. Kind of like a homicidal version of the NCAA tournament, this event matches the deadliest, sweatiest and smelliest of outlaws, all of whom crave the big cash jackpot promised to the winner. Amidst the litany of banditos, there are some more interesting characters:
Gene Hackman as quite possibly one of the most evil villains of the past 10 years.
Leo DiCaprio having some fun as a cocky young gunslinger.
Sharon Stone at her least obnoxious.
Russell Crowe as a gunfighter-turned-humiliated preacher!
Lance Henriksen as a cocky and preening gunslinger!
Keith David as an ass-kickin' bounty hunter!
Gary Sinise! Pat Hingle, Roberts Blossom AND Woody Strode! (If you know who these last three guys are, then you are definitely a Western fanatic and you must rent this movie today!)
Simon Moore's screenplay features tons of sly in-jokes and subtle references for the fans of the old-time Westerns. While the non-stop barrage of cliche-skewering doesn't allow a lot of time for any real story to take place, the nasty and crackling dialogue makes up for it...and watch for the scene where Hackman gives Sharon Stone the back of his hand. Pure movie magic. (Simon Moore would later go on to write the screenplay for a miniseries entitled Traffik...and we all know where that series led.)
Stunningly directed by Sam Raimi, after he directed the Evil Dead movies and Darkman but before he gave the world A Simple Plan and Spider-Man. This is a sleek, quick and often silly movie that is simply gorgeous to look at. His bizarre camera angles and points of view keep are evidence of a director having some fun!Yeah, I never thought I'd live to recommend a Sharon Stone movie...especially one she has a producer credit for! Regardless, this movie is grade-A prime fun for hardcore Western freaks, fans of way macho dialogue or those of us who just love them groovy camera tricks.