1996 Running time: 101 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Walter Hill turns Akira Kurosawa's samurai classic Yojimbo into a gangster Western with Bruce Willis as a hired gun who plays off rival bootlegging mobs against one another in a Texas bordertown. It's all good, unclean, gang war fun... until the drifter's double-dealing catches up with him. Chilling henchman Christopher Walken and sneaky sheriff Bruce Dern fit perfectly into Hill's no-nonsense mix of bullets and bravado. Look out too for comedy queen Leslie Mann in an early straight role.

Director

  • Walter Hill

Cast

  • Bruce Willis

  • David Patrick Kelly

  • William Sanderson

  • Christopher Walken

  • Bruce Dern

  • Alexandra Powers

Review

With one of the slimmest storylines ever put on screen, this Prohibition-era, blow-them-away gangster saga provides a rare old shoot-fest.

Throaty Bruce Willis takes on whispering Christopher Walken in the story of a hired gun who drives into a small Texas town to find most of the locals have fled, leaving two trigger-happy gangs to fight a private war over bootleg liquor.

Willis takes first one side, then the other, until he's beaten to a pulp for his double-dealing pains. There's lots of body-blasting action and it's all smartly done, though more akin to the spirit of the spaghetti Western than the Japanese samurai film on which it's actually based.

The dialogue's difficult to hear, but the gun battles speak for themselves and the early 1930s costumes, especially bathed in brown filters, look exactly right.

Nice supporting performance by Bruce Dern, whose character is less predictable than you might expect.

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