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Young Guns II (1990) - Blu-ray Review

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Young Guns II

Young Guns successfully entertained the 1988 box office to the tune of 45 million dollars. The film chose to focus on the revenge of Billy the Kid and the regulators on his employer’s killer and once Jack Palance caught one between the eyes, the film left the futures of the surviving members to a bookended voice over that wrapped things up nicely if not in a visual way.

While critics denounced the film as fluff, it made four times its budget and most of its stars had gone on to become very in demand actors indeed. 1990’s Young Guns 2, this time directed by Geoff Murphy (R.I.P), would take that voice-over and make a beautiful looking movie out of it.

"effectively transports you to a fictional time passed"


The tale starts in the mid 20th century with a lawyer arriving at the edge of the dessert to interview Brushy Bill Roberts, who claims he is Billy the Kid and wants a pardon from the governor. As he begins to regale this lawyer with his proof that he is, in fact, William H. Bonney, we are transported back to the events that will lead to Bonney’s assassination at the hands of his dear friend (in the movie) Pat Garrett. This film stretches out the events and the truth leading up to the infamous end of the outlaw to feature length. Again, we get a cluster of male leads, both from the previous movie and new, that were the cat’s pajamas of their day. Again, we are treated to a great bunch of performers firing off guns and running from the law. But this time, the addition of William Peterson as Garrett (replacing actor Patrick Wayne from the first movie) adds a new level of emotional heft for Estevez that he chews into with aplomb.

While (again) grossly inaccurate to the actual events, that isn’t what the filmmakers were offering. They wanted to represent a folk hero version of a not so honorable outlaw, and in that they are successful. This version of Billy is just damn likeable, despite his propensity to kill people with reckless abandon. Writer John Fusco has constructed a great and briskly flowing narrative that is complete BS but relatable and breezy to sit through. Billy is the scorned one in this picture. Garrett is the traitor. Both love each other and both actors portray the set-up and sadness of this tragic inevitability to great success.

Sutherland was a megastar by the time this sequel was made, and didn’t want to do the movie. He came back only after the producers agreed his character would be offed so he could go back to doing other work. Doc is in this film plenty however, as is Phillips’ Chavez, and their character’s fates and the tragedy of being associated with Billy, does emotionally hit.

Missing this time, and giving this film the edge in immersion, is the rock and roll guitar score from the first movie. This time Alan Silvestri’s magnificent traditional scoring adeptly compliments the tragedy and melancholy that befalls those who follow Billy the Kid as well as the man himself. Wisely, and as far as marketing genius goes, the rock and roll is relegated to the end credits this time, with none other than Bon Jovi offering a #1 single to go with the release of the film. Estevez was responsible for lassoing him into the production, after asking if they could use one of his previous hits. He declined, but was so inspired by the story of the film he based his first single album on it. Young Guns II

The direction of Murphy is much better than Cain’s first film. The colours are richer, the vistas—a missed opportunity in the first movie—are there aplenty and gorgeous. The cooler tones from the first movie are replaced with warmer shades and look amazing. Would you believe this film was made for a million less than the original? Apparently it was. No wonder Murphy went on to work as Peter Jackson’s second AD in The Lord of the Rings trilogy!

This is an enjoyable and equally fun if flawed follow up to the original. Obviously an unexpected one, as most of its DNA differs to the first movie, but successful nonetheless, due to its stars and the caliber of talents they drew in to make it whole. Both Young Guns make for an entertaining duology that are easy to sit through and unabashedly Hollywood tall tales. I think this sequel has better emotion throughout it and effectively transports you to a fictional time passed—just don’t do any historical homework on it.

3/5 stars

Young Guns II

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- November 20, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH; French
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

VIDEO:

BEW-DI-FUL! An imperfect yet solid 1080p MPEG-4 transfer. The colours, probably due to the photography are so much bolder. They’re not HDR level popping, but the sunsets and vistas are layered and show great depth between foreground, mid ground, and background scenes. Skin tones are slightly on the surreal end of the spectrum in some shots, but mostly natural. The sparse amounts of green stuck out on my display as well to great effect. Grain is present but never obtrusive, and far more consistent than the first movies disc (different distributor!) Where it falls down a point is the crush in black that robs the scene of some detail and I saw a few albeit brief signs of compression in darker scenes. Overall a fantastic looking picture that’s well worth the upgrade.

AUDIO:

On par with the video. This DTS-HD 5.1 lossless mix is one meaty, base heavy immersive success. There’s great effect between the centre fronts and rears that only compliments—never competes—with each other. Silvestri’s beautiful score reverberates around the room with full immersion. Effects, like gun shots and running hooves, have effective if not perfect directionality and really thump. The base, both with the score and the actions scenes, rumbles and impresses throughout.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

This is getting to be an all too brief section of reviewing as they’re just not bothering much anymore. Here we have the theatrical trailer and a short featurette from when the film was shot that don’t offer much. Many who buy this film already know what it’s about, and a press kit, TV-style press kit fluff bit that’s selling what the film is about seems redundant.

  • Making-of Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Young Guns II (1990)

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
83 mins
Director
: Geoff Murphy
Writer:
John Fusco
Cast:
Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips
Genre
: Western
Tagline:
The West just got wilder.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Yoohoo. I'll make you famous!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site:
Release Date:
August1, 1990
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 20, 2019
Synopsis: In 1881, cattle baron John Chisum pays a bounty to Patrick Floyd Garrett to kill outlaw Billy the Kid.

Young Guns II (1990)

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