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Young Guns

Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // February 6, 2007
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Matthew Hinkley | posted March 19, 2007 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

"Young Guns" is definitely not original, and definitely can't strut its stuff with the big boys of westerns, like "Unforgiven." But that doesn't mean it isn't somewhat entertaining.

Set in the late 1870's in New Mexico, ranch owner John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) takes on 6 young men to protect his ranch, all the while teaching them they ways of the world (reading, writing, dancing). On their way back home from an evening out, Tunstall is murdered by a competing ranch owner. Outraged, the Tunstall boys, also known as the Regulators, are on a warpath to seek revenge. They are led by Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez), who pushes the rest of the group to finish the job, no matter the cost. After being deputized, the Regulators use their arrest warrants and powers a bit too freely. Soon every deputy and bounty hunter is after them and the Regulators struggle to fulfill their one and only desire...REVENGE.

"Young Guns" feels as if it borrows from too many other westerns. It is filled with some successful action-packed, gun-slinging battles, but the haphazard comedy attempts during the lulls of action fall short of any true entertainment value. Based off the "true" tale of Billy the Kid, "Young Guns" definitely struggles through its storytelling process--the film takes too long to establish the characters and back story, but once the Regulators' warpath begins, it is full of some good action scenes and some not-so-good comedy attempts.

"Young Guns" has plenty of talent--Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Dimond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney and Casey Siemaszko--which helps the movie progress nicely. I quite enjoyed watching each of these very familiar faces during one of their earlier roles. Each character does a good job of making us believe that they all played a part in Billy the Kid's short-lived life.

Overall "Young Guns" is okay. We get some good performances, mixed with a flawed plotline. Maybe worth a watch if you have 2 hours to kick back...relax...and enjoy an interesting take on the very well known story of Billy the Kid.

The DVD

Video:

Unfortunately "Young Guns" video gets a mediocre video treatment. The blacks are not so black, and grain is apparent throughout. There are, however, a couple of good scenes that truly put us in the realm of what Blu-Ray is supposed to feel like. Detail is decent throughout, but there are a couple scenes, usually taking place out on the range, that step it up a bit more. One scene in particular is shot outside in the desert of New Mexico and the sky is so blue, there is just enough contrast, and not a lot of grain. Unfortunately, overall, there isn't any "pop" to make you feel like you are actually in the old west and the picture honestly feels like an up-scaled DVD. A good transfer would have really helped with "Young Guns," but unfortunately we don't get one.

Sound:

With a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and a 6.1 DTS HD track, we get a fairly well rounded audio tack. I really appreciated the good use of surrounds that we get during the action scenes with lots of gunfire. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to bullets whizzing from speaker to speaker. As far as dialogue goes, it seemed to be very crisp with great use of the center channel. With the audio, there wasn't much to complain about except that the surrounds were really only used during the gunfire. I would have enjoyed hearing more horses, and other things that would have complemented the surrounds very well. Overall, a fairly decent track.

Extras:

Trivia Track: This trivia track was pretty lacking. I learned a couple interesting factoids about Billy the Kid and who he really was, combined with definitions of words they may have used in the old west, and what the actors have previously played in. Unfortunately, I really didn't learn much like I have on some of the other trivia tracks.

Documentary: Billy the Kid the True Story: This is a generic documentary about Billy the Kid himself and how he grew up and became Billy the Kid. We meet a couple historians as they tell us his life story. Again, another feature that really didn't do much for me.

Final Thoughts:

"Young Guns" suffers from trying to do too much. It has some good gun battles, but then tries to lighten up the violence with some awkward comedy attempts, which makes it feel like it shouldn't really be in the western genre. That, coupled with a flawed plotline, an okay video, good audio, and lackluster extras, makes "Young Guns" entertaining enough to watch maybe once. Go ahead and skip this one, unless you are a big fan already and don't own the special edition DVD.

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