Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 10/21/98
The Quick and the
1997 (1998) -
review by Todd Doogan,
special to The Digital Bits
Sam Raimi making a salute to the westerns of Sergio Leone. Okay,
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B+/C
No extras. That sucks, but the movie being on DVD is good enough (I
guess). The video is generally clean (outside of a few moments of
artifacting during the opening sequence), and the audio is
Overall Rating: B
All in all, this is yet another top notch disc from
Columbia/TriStar. I'm pretty much a happy little buckaroo.
105 minutes, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
full frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, Amaray keep case packaging,
theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (28
chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0) and French (DD 2.0),
subtitles: English and French, Close Captioned
Sam Raimi. For fanboys, hearing that name associated with a movie
only means one thing: it's gonna kick some serious butt. With his
dashing camera work, over the top characters, and great one-liners,
no one in the world can top his energy. The
Quick And The Dead is no exception. This is a pure-energy
western as only Sam Raimi could give to us. It's a reinvented
Western, dark and gritty, yet it manages to be lite and airy at the
same time. He channels Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone so well, that
I can only hope he plans to make another Western sometime in the
The Quick And The Dead focuses
on Ellen (played by producer Sharon Stone). Of course, more often
than not, she is referenced as The Lady, because she is (in grand
Spaghetti Western fashion) The Woman With No Name. Ellen sidewinds
into an armpit of a town named Redemption. Which is ironic,
considering there doesn't seem to be any redemption to be found
there. Redemption is ruled by the meanest bastard to ever grace the
silver screen -- meaner even than Henry Fonda's Frank character in
Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West.
That bastard is Herod, and he is played with severe gusto by Gene
Hackman. Just imagine his character in Unforgiven
with a black, black, black sense of humor. Herod, on top of being a
mean bastard and mayor of Redemption, is also the organizer and
world champion of a gunslinging tournament. Naturally, it's an
elimination event, meaning "to the death".
Each of the colorful characters assembled in Redemption has a
reason for being there. Sharon Stone is looking for revenge form
something that happened to her, which is slowly revealed in
flashback. Leonardo DiCaprio is there, because he wants his father
to show him a little respect. Lance Henricksen is there with a stack
of cards (and lies) six inches thick. There are also a bucket-load
of other characters, including a priest played by Russell Crowe.
This priest has a pitch-black past that he can't escape, even with
the Lord's help. Redemption is like a circus where everyone is a
clown -- yet they ain't here to make us laugh.
Raimi packs this flick with so many inspired camera angles, editing
tricks and special effects shots, that it's really hard to count
them all. He does all these little things that we've never before
seen in a western, and he does them so well, they fit in perfectly.
It just looks like he had a blast shooting this film -- so much fun
in fact, that it's contagious.
The DVD from Columbia/Tristar does have a few moments of artifacts,
especially during the opening credit sequence. The film itself
doesn't exhibit as much because of all the day shots. The video
problems disappear to the eye as you watch, so it's really no big
deal. The sound is great. Remember to choose the 5.1 Dolby Digital
track, unless of course you speak French -- then you'll have no
choice but to listen to a stereo track. Colors are bright and well
represented on DVD. Overall, it's a mighty fine disc. Besides the
trailer, there aren't any supplements to report -- sad considering
that one of the cut sequences featured Bruce Campbell, which alone
would have been enough reason to buy the disc, in my opinion.
Sam Raimi made a damn fine western. He borrowed a whole helluva lot
from masters like Peckinpah and Leone, but still managed to make it
his own. Some of his shots will make you glad you're watching on
DVD, so you can use that crystal-clear pause feature to get a better
look. Darned good fun.