Young Guns II (1990)

Starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christian Slater, William Petersen, Alan Ruck, R.D. Call, James Coburn, Balthazar Getty, Jack Kehoe, Robert Knepper, Tom Kurlander, Viggo Mortensen

Directed by Geoff Murphy

Expectations: Low. I’ve seen this one before and did not enjoy it. Same as the first.


I love a good western. I don’t watch nearly as many of them as I used to, but my love for them has not diminished one bit. Young Guns did nothing to scratch my western itch, and while its sequel gets a lot closer, it’s just shy of providing anything of real value or entertainment to me. I think the key here is that the target audience for the Young Guns franchise is female, and when my girlfriend remarked after one of my many sighs, “You don’t like all the drama,” I knew that she was onto something solid.

By casting all the young heartthrobs of the day, you’ve already got the female audience’s interest piqued, but Young Guns goes the extra mile and makes the focus of the movie the drama that transpires between the members of the group. There’s no real heroics or impressive vigilante action to be found in this series (things that a male audience would generally respond to), and I think this is a major reason why I just can’t connect with the Young Guns films. In this way, Young Guns isn’t so much a western as it is a teen movie using a western backdrop, kind of like Inglourious Basterds is a spaghetti western that uses WWII iconography instead of the traditional guns and horses.

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Young Guns (1988)

Starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terence Stamp, Jack Palance, Terry O’Quinn, Sharon Thomas Cain

Directed by Christopher Cain

Expectations: Low. I’ve seen this one before and did not enjoy it.


I thought maybe this would be one of those movies that would get better with an appreciation for shitty movies. Unfortunately this is not the case, as Young Guns is not quite trashy enough to ignite the B-Movie torch and light my way through this tortured mess. It starts out well enough with an interesting and enigmatic opening of purple-tinged film grain and the silhouettes of our main characters, but just a couple of cuts later we’re treated(?) to close-ups of the stars as their names come on-screen in the most obvious, dumb way possible. Like Batman and Robin, at least Young Guns has the decency to let everyone know what they’re getting into. I should’ve stopped it right then and there, but I have an obligation to finish the filth and deliver something resembling quality content here at Silver Emulsion, regardless of the quality of the film.

I watch a lot of slow-moving B-Movies where their budgets don’t allow much to actually happen beyond a few people talking about something that you really should be seeing. Young Guns is like the opposite, where it’s almost all things happening but very little explanation, and what is there is so mind-numbingly boring and unengaging that I literally zoned out immediately whenever someone started talking. This happened the last time I watched it too, and I went in aware of this and actively tried to avoid it. I was simply unable to; it’s not my fault, it’s just a shitty, poorly constructed movie.

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