Directed by: Christopher Cain | 102 minutes | action, drama, western | Actors: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terence Stamp, Jack Palance, Terry O’Quinn, Sharon Thomas, Geoffrey Blake, Alice Carter, Brian Keith, Thomas Callaway, Patrick Wayne
In the 1950s there was a group of artists called The Rat Pack, which included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin. They often performed in Las Vegas and loved to party together until the early hours, until they looked like a ratty pack, hence the name. In the mid-1980s there was a group of promising young actors and actresses who were referred to by the press as The Brat Pack in reference to the 1950s group. These actors and actresses regularly starred together in teen-oriented films such as’ The Breakfast Club ‘and’ St. Elmo’s Fire ”. The most famous names of this group are Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Rob Lowe and Molly Ringwald. A number of actors who belonged to this Brat Pack also star in this “Young Guns”, a cheerful western from 1988.
Regulators are a number of young men, vagrants with no future, who have been taken in by John Tunstall (Terence Stamp). They help him “arrange” the livestock, which means that they have to keep an eye on whether the livestock is being stolen. In return, they receive room and board and reading and writing lessons from John, who is a kind of father figure to all of them. Murphy (Jack Palance) is the villain in this story, he’s also a rancher, and John gets in the way of expanding his business and making more money. Because it cannot be done, Murphy decides to have John killed. The boys are obviously furious and, led by Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez), start a bloody smear against Murphy and his men.
The power of “Young Guns” is definitely the casting. Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and his brother Emilio Estevez were really hot in the 80s. Sheen had made “Platoon” and “Wall Street” with Oliver Stone, Estevez had made his breakthrough with “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire ”and Kiefer Sutherland had impressed with their roles in“ The Lost Boys ”. Estevez is on a roll as the disarming Billy the Kid. He faces his opponents openly and without fear, smiling and shooting at the same time. Emilio Estevez’s baby face is perfect for the roguish Billy and Lou Diamond Phillips plays an Indian who, as befits a good Indian, occasionally spouts all kinds of profound wisdom. Kiefer Sutherland is the gentle Doc, who is a poet and has a soft spot for a Chinese girl. With his young head, big head of hair and already closing, he is very far removed from his role as Jack Bauer in the thrilling TV series “24”.
It is clear to see that the film was made with great pleasure and that makes it very nice to watch this western. Do not expect in-depth character developments, college acting or music from Ennio Morricone (80s, so synthesizers and rock guitars!) And here and there there are also some unbelievements in the film, but that should not spoil the fun. “Young Guns” has become an entertaining western with a lot of speed and action that is well worth seeing thanks to the excellent cast and lots of fun.