2.0 out of 5 stars
Peckinpah's best comedy !, June 29 2002
More overhyped drivel from Sam Peckinpah. I realize since his canonization it's unpopular to speak out against his ode to the dying west "masterpiece" but this film is mediocre at best. OK, so there were some innovations like airborne blood and dizzying scene to scene edits (3600 in all-bring some Dramamine)but that doesn't equal classic in my book. It leaves the viewer dizzy in the wake of a director's blatant self-indulgence and disregard for his audience and honestly it's just plain tiresome to watch.
And the clear highlight of the film is the bridge scene but we even get shafted on that one too. Hey Sam, 17 frenetic camera angles for every conversation with your 5 losers, and one for this scene. Where are the multiple camera angles for this shot you bozo???
However, in the midst of this mess we are introduced to the genre's first two gay killers by LQ Jones and Strother Martin. Now these two are funny, but not as funny as Gen. Mapache with his finger superglued to the trigger of a Gatling gun. Most of what Peckinpah did was to borrow from the popular Sergio Leone formula for violence, magnify it, and squirt some blood in the air in super-slow motion, while omitting the imagination that made Leone's films so unique. Even the famous "walk" into Mapache's compound for the final showdown is hilarious...with shotguns casually cradled in their arms and a dumb grin on their face these guys look like they're going duck hunting, not marching to their almost inevitable demise.
Final analysis: Overated with a capital "O". Aside from the blood and guts this film's departure from the tried and true western formula leaves you flat- there aren't any good guys in this movie. There was no one to root for or against-you just don't care one way or the other. This movie is totally pointless and the director knows this. It's a joke on the public and the critics, all who unbelievably refuse to say anything negative about this film. The final shoot out is hysterical, actually it's just plain camp and offers William Holden's best line of the movie..."Bitch." Take a cue from Edmund O'Brien and Robert Ryan in the final scene....they're laughing along with the rest of the cast via flashbacks and so am I at anyone who thinks this is some sort of masterpiece. Is it creative film making-yes, does it pass for entertainment-NO, is it any good-Uh, NO. Not unless your exposure to westerns is limited. 2 empty bottles. Pitiful.