YOUNG GUNS 2, 1990
Stars: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christian Slater, William Petersen, Alan Ruck, James Coburn, Viggo Mortensen
Billy "The Kid" and his gang is wanted by the law, and when "Doc" Scurlock and Chavez are captured, Billy has to save them. They escape and set south for Mexico. "Let's hire a thief to catch one", John S. Chisum said, so he paid Pat Garrett, one of Billy's former partners, $1000 for the killing of William H. Bonney aka Billy "The Kid".
The score done by Jon Bon Jovi makes this a passable film. It’s very good and epic-like for this Western setting. It’s so good you actually keep watching just to hear the music as you wonder what epic level they are going to go to next.
I can even argue that this is perhaps the best score in movie history. Of course it will never be considered that because it was made for a very mediocre film that seemed to be concocted solely because of the success of it’s original two years previous and attempting to make some more money for the studios.. But what makes it so great is that it turns a very poorly conceived and executed movie into an okay film with some fun moments in it. Take away the score of Young Guns 2 and you have yourself a terrible film.
So doesn’t that make it a great score? Young Guns is a failed movie without it and Jon Bon Jovi turned it into a C- film. It’s like they came in at the last minute to work on and answer the final problem on your Math exam, and if they didn’t you would of have had to repeat the grade. So you can argue that turning bad into okay is much more valuable than turning good into great. The great is always gets remembered, but so is the horrible. And Jon Bon Jovi was reason #1 why this movie wasn’t horrible.
Take away the score and you have yourself a mess of a plot, some very uneven performances and a concept that kind of angered me when I saw this film as a kid with all my friends. Billy the Kid is alive?!!! Say what? Why do they do things like this?
It was the summer of 1990 and I was in a cross-roads. My friends and I were off to high school for the first time that fall after a very relaxing grade school experience and many of us weren’t going to be friends for very long after we crossed into the large mothership of the high school existence. We were all scared taking that plunge because we all knew nothing would ever be the same again after that. When you’re 13-14 years old, things like this kept you awake at night with worry.
One of the last activities that the core 7 of us did was go see Young Guns 2. My friends and I were big Outlaw fans and thought Billy the Kid was the man. This was before the Comic Book movie boom, so we had Westerns to watch before Spiderman and Green Lantern.
So the 7 of us landed in the theatre and were as excited as could be. The energy we had pretty much forced all of us to like the movie as it pretty much gave you everything a 14 year old boy liked, minus the sexy girls.( I’m sure if made today, more sexy girls would of been included in this 1800s world. They would of found a way!) It gave us legends, gun fights, friendship, betrayals, a conspiracy theory. They were definitely making this film for us.
But even then I wondered after the lights went up, what they were trying to say. I began studying themes in storytelling then as I noticed that every great story was about something more than just the plot. Young Guns 2 puzzled me because it was giving us a lot of mixed signals. Was the film really about friendship? If it was it sure gave us a really dysfunctional story about it. Billy the Kid is a selfish guy who basically pulls his so called friends together into a ruse, which leads them all to their deaths. Not exactly friendship material.
Watching Young Guns 2 twenty-one years later still gave me the same puzzlement afterwards. There really isn’t a theme in this movie and therefore we are left feeling cheated without really knowing why.
But the interesting thing that also happened when watching it again as an adult is that the film does remind you of what being a kid is again. And that’s a good feeling.
CLICK the LINKS and EXPLORE