Saturday, February 5, 2011

Speed Kills

The Quick and the Dead is a bit of a puzzler - a western starring Sharon Stone as a quickdraw artist? Really? With Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crow? Sam Raimi directing? OK, now it makes sense.

After a little skit from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Sharon Stone rides into town and the first person she meets is the coffinmaker, ala Fistful of Dollars. I'll just go ahead here and say, Once Upon a Time in the West and High Plains Drifter.

Stone is in town for the quickdraw contest sponsored by evil Gene Hackman, who rules the town. Also in the competition are Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Kid", who may be as good as he thinks he is, and Russell Crowe, a reformed gunslinger who is being forced to kill or be killed by Hackman. Also, a variety of colorful characters.

The action is somewhere between spaghetti western and Roadrunner cartoon. For ex: you can see sunlight through bullet holes. The acting is somewhere between spaghetti western and really over the top. DiCaprio excels at chewing the scenery, and Hackman really takes the bit in mouth and runs. Crowe is a little quieter, as "The Preacher", a man who wants to live in peace.

Stone's character is played with a nice twist - she is clearly doing Clint Eastwood, but instead of an emotionally cool killer, she is scared and indecisive. There's a hint of Hamlet in the will-she-won't-she question of whether she will take her revenge.

- SPOILER - She will, and it is pretty awesome.

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