"I am not Sharon Stone's biggest fan and I did not expect to like this movie when I saw it, but now I find myself watching it every time it is on tv. Gene Hackman is great as the sadistic John Herod, he is even meaner than in Unforgiven. Russell Crowe gives a good performance as Cort, and Crowe is finally getting the attention that he deserves as a serious actor. Sharon Stone's role does not demand all that much of her and she does what is expected of her. Leonardo DiCaprio exudes the appropriate amount of cockiness as the young upstart gunslinger. There are some good minor roles in the film, including Lance Henriksen as Ace and Keith David as Cantrell, the man secretly hired by the oppressed townfolk to take out Herod. The most dramatic moment in the film comes when he faces Herod and the townspeople bend their heads in prayer for salvation only to be disappointed as Cantrell comes to a brutal end. Some of the other reviewers found the camera angles annoying and certain scenes unrealistic. Well, this movie doesn't strive for realism. It is part send off of spaghetti westerns and part live action adult cartoon. If you see the movie in this spirit, you cannot help but like it."
The Western as Modern Myth
Matthew S. Schweitzer | Columbus, OH United States | 02/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Quick and the Dead has long been derided as a Sharon Stone star vehicle that flopped. However, there is much more to this film than meets the eye. Featuring an ensemble cast that includes, Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gary Sinise, Keith David, and Lance Henricksen, this film is a refreshing change from past takes on the western. Stone plays a quiet and beautiful gunslinger, come out of the dusty plains to the town of Redemption, seeking revenge for the murder of her sheriff father years ago by the town dictator John Herrod, a dark and malevolent old gunfighter intent on maintaining his stranglehold on the frightened populace by staging a quick draw contest, the better to publically eliminate any opposition to his rule, and to squash any hope of salvation. Drawn into this dark contest are Herrod's former partner turned preacher Cort, a man whose tortured soul still seeks it's own salvation, and who Herrod seeks to pull back to Hell. Herrord's son, The Kid, enrolls in the contest as a way to seek fame and glory, and to prove himself to a aloof and uncaring father. Thrown into the mix are a number of colorful characters come to town to seek their own fortunes and the fireworks ensue. There is strong symbolism throughout this film, shades of death and rebirth, powerful archetypal figures in the charaters of Herrod, the powerful demonic ruler of the underworld, and Cort, the misguided but eventual redeemer and saviour. This film boasts a strong and talented cast that give some wonderfully enjoyable performances. Sam Raimi does an incredible job once again of producing a stylishly directed tale of loss, redemtion, salvation, and revenge in this telling of the western as mdoern myth."
Blu-ray: A fun, entertaining Western with a female protagoni
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 09/15/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In 1995, then-blossoming director Sam Raimi (who went on to direct the "Spider-Man" and "The Evil Dead" films) and writer Simon Moore ("Traffic") worked on their first Western. Joined by composer Alan Silvestri ("G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra", "Beowulf", "Night at the Museum" and "The Mummy" films) and cinematographer Dante Spinotti ("X-Men: The Last Stand", "The Family Man" and "Red Dragon"), the crew set out to create a unique western that has never been done before.
"The Quick and the Dead" featured an all-star cast which included the sexy Sharon Stone ("Basic Instinct", "Sliver", "Bobby" and "Catwoman"), the legendary actor Gene Hackman ("Unforgiven", "Crimson Tide", "The Replacements", "Heist", "Behind Enemy Lines" and "Runaway Jury") and two actors that would become popular a few years after the release of this film, Russel Crowe ("Gladiator", "A Beautiful Mind", "Cinderella Man", "American Gangster") and Leonardo DiCaprio ("Titanic", "The Departed", "Bood Diamond", "Gangs of New York").
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"The Quick and the Dead" receives its first HD release on Blu-ray. Featured in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), the film for the most part captures that Western feel and at times, the picture quality showcases the grit of the West. From Sharon Stone's blue eyes to gold in the the teeth of some of the people in the town, there are times that the picture quality looks very good especially since this is a 15-year-old film.
But there are times when the picture quality just looks bad. In one scene during a discussion between Ellen and Cort and when it focuses on her, the film looks as if the the low light added so much noise around the film. Fortunately, this segment is short. The other thing is that the film in high definition also does make certain CG segments a bit unreal (ie. a tremendous hole in the middle of one's head).
But for the most part, the film does look good for a film back in 1995. And happy to know that Sony has decided not to use DNR (digital noise reduction) and kept the grain intact.
As for the audio, "The Quick and the Dead" sounds awesome. The lossless audio really takes advantage of the surround channels. I was pretty impressed because it's one thing to get the clear dialogue and the gun shots from the front and center channels (and gun shots zipping through the surround channels) but there a good amount of scenes that really utilize the surround channels and some of those booms are not just short, some actually linger. I also noticed a bit of LFE, so for the most part, the audio for "The Quick and the Dead" was pretty solid. Not reference quality but for a 1995 film, it sounds great.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.
"The Quick and the Dead" comes with only one special feature (aside from the trailers) and that is the film is presented in movieIQ. For those with Blu-ray players that are BD-Live enabled, you can watch the film while a panel on the side can be accessed via your remote with information about the cast, crew, music and production.
"The Quick and the Dead" is by no means the greatest Western, nor is it the best. But what it does well is trying to accomplish something different by capturing the look and feel of a spaghetti Western, but also making the protagonist a female surrounded by an interesting group of characters.
Sharon Stone is absolutely beautiful in this film and the film wasn't created that long after "Basic Instinct". She was one of America's top, sexiest female leads and it was interesting to see her in a film that captures that beauty and sexiness but also has a hint of danger around her. I suppose its up to the viewer if she was a win or fail for the film but for the most part, the concept of a female protagonist was definitely enjoyable to see in this film. It's also important to note that this was the first film that Sharon Stone co-produced.
As for the other talent, Gene Hackman is just solid in any Western. The film was made a few years after his Academy Award winning appearance in the classic Western "Unforgiven" and he seemed as a natural playing the antagonist in "The Quick and the Dead". As for Russell Crowe, he was still an unknown in the US despite being popular in Australia and Asia (especially in Japan for his other 1995 film "No Way Back") and Leonardo DiCaprio was starting to emerge after his Academy Award nominated performance in the 1993 film "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and plays a young man quick with his gun but all he has wanted was respect from his outlaw father John Herod.
The film also had interesting behind-the-scenes information (probably why there are no special features included on the Blu-ray) in regard to Sharon Stone starring in the film only if Sam Raimi directed and writer Simon Moore being fired and then rehired to fix a script written by writer Tom Sayles but instead of fixing it, omitted Sayles work completely and gave him his own rewrite. It's important to note that Sony at the time was against Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio to be in the film that Sharon Stone was the one who fought for Crowe to be in the film and because of Sony not wanting DiCaprio for the film, Stone paid him out of her own pocket.
If anything, I felt that Raimi did a fine job with this film because no matter what was going to happen, there would be viewers that don't necessarily have female gunslingers in their minds as the main protagonist. Sure, the gunfights may be cliche and the screenplay may not be deep and engaging, but "The Quick and the Dead" was not a film I was expecting to be the next "Unforgiven" nor was I expecting anything remotely close to a Clint Eastwood or John Wayne film either.
Overall, "The Quick and the Dead" was a wild, fun and entertaining film that may not have been a financial success in the box office nor was it a film that received many positive responses from the critics, but it was one of those films that people didn't take seriously and wanted a Western popcorn flick to enjoy and be entertained. For those who want to see a different kind of Western on Blu-ray, you may want to give this film a chance."
Raimi and his actors have some serious fun
Mike Stone | 11/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the town of Redemption, the ultimate gunfighter tournament is held, organized annually by the town's fascistic dictator, Herod (Gene Hackman). Every hour on the hour, a duel is fought. Those who win ("The Quick") live to duel again tomorrow, and are another day closer to claiming the ultimate jackpot. Those who lose ("The Dead") end up as corpses, stripped bare by the town's penniless vultures. Among those entered in the contest are Herod himself (the unrelenting defending champion many times over), the Kid (he of questionable birth), Cort (an ex-virtuoso gunfighter who's now a man of the cloth entered in the contest against his will), and most mysteriously, Ellen (who's come to Redemption for redemption, natch). It is a fabulous setup for a movie, providing excellent sustained suspense during the tournament, and enough time between duels to flesh out the relationships between the characters and to try and understand what has gone on in their pasts to bring them to such an unenviable present.Most of the actors are wonderful here, understanding that beyond the seriousness of the subject matter, the movie is really a comic book come to life, and should be imbued with a sense of fun. Hackman and DiCaprio (the Kid) give the best performances. The former is evil personified, fully relishing his role as the object of everyone's hatred, and knowing that he can crush the town like a bug if he chose to. The latter is brimming with youthful ego and energy, sure of his gunplay but tormented by his misidentity. Russell Crowe is also good as the brooding Cort. He is an actor of such visceral intensity that he could go through an entire film without saying a word, and you'd still be sure that he was a serious badass. Also good, in smaller parts, are Lance Henriksen and Keith David as arrogant gunslingers, and Gary Sinise as Ellen's father in flashback. His scenes are emotional and painful to watch, but quite central to the movie's themes. Sharon Stone, well, what to say about her. Her overacting renders her bland. I guess the best impression I can give you about her performance is that, even though she is the central character and the above-the-title star, when I think of this movie I always forget that she's even in it. At least she doesn't get in the way of the other actors. That says it all, I suppose.Anyone who's familiar with Sam Raimi's early work (the 'Evil Dead' films come directly to mind) will recognize his distinctive visual style. It's like Sergio Leone on acid. His camera moves this way and that, in a very kinetic and addictively campy manner. He gives you camera angles and shots that few others would dare to try (the famous bullet's-eye-view shot as it travels through a gunfighter's eye socket comes readily to mind). It's his directing that elevates this movie above the standard spaghetti western rip-off. He makes it great fun."
"Campy Shoot-em-up Western that's just flat fun to watch!"
Jerry Parks | Lexington, KY USA | 08/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me make sure I understand...a shoot-out 'tournament' with an old-west setting....why didn't someone think of this before?
This is just a great flick to watch. It's 10% 'camp', and 90% action. Gene Hackman is the only legitimate highly-skilled actor in the action, but the script is so good it makes even Sharon Stone and Leonardo deCaprio look good in thier roles. Gary Sinese and Russell Crowe are great, though Sinese's role is minor.
The zooming cinematography, and the sub-theme of a little girl traumatized keep the plot on the roll! Killing is done with little or no thought to the value of human life, so screen the kids. DeCaprio's death scene will wrench the heart of every teenage girl.
The film is strange at times, and the performances are nearly as methodical as characters from Batman, but it all works. Good does triumph, and there is enough explosion at the conclusion to satisfy the hard-core sensation freaks, so the hour and a half never drags.
I liked this film--even if the plot is as unbelieveable as the fact that Sharon Stone has a great performance!"