Released in the summer of 1988, this ‘Brat Pack Western’ hold plenty of appeal. Directed by Christopher Cain and written by John Fusco, Young Guns sees Emilio Estevez star as the legendary William H. “Billy the Kid” Bonney. Billy is one of a number of Young Guns hired by Brit John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) to work on his ranch. Tunstall attempts to instill values and a non-violent approach within the group, but despite his efforts, tensions with a rival gang headed by Lawrence Murphy.
I’m certainly no western aficionado, but Young Guns feels reasonably authentic. (Is Back to the Future 3 OK to use as the benchmark?!) There is obviously some violence as you would expect from this genre, but nothing that makes you want to hide behind the sofa. You can definitely warm to and feel sympathetic towards a number of the characters, but it isn’t the deepest film I’ve ever seen. It isn’t meant to be.
Emilio Estevez’ energetic performance somewhat steals the show. It was enjoyable for me to remember him in this kind of role and just how talented he was as a young actor. While it was clearly a requirement of the part, Estevez was brimming with confidence throughout Young Guns but he has become much more of an introvert in later life.
The Young Guns sequel was a bit of a mess and feels somewhat rushed and unfinished. The original is definitely worth a watch but part 2 is best avoided. The addition of Christian Slater is a positive however.
Young Guns Rating
Not a masterpiece by any means but an enjoyable movie nonetheless. Fans of Estevez and Sheen should definitely check Young Guns out. Brat Pack rating 7/10.
Young Guns Characters
William H. “Billy the Kid” Bonney – Played by Emilio Estevez
Josiah Gordon “Doc” Scurlock – Played by Kiefer Sutherland
Richard “Dick” Brewer – Played by Charlie Sheen
Charlie Bowdre – Played by Casey Siemaszko
Young Guns Trivia
Tom Cruise has a very small cameo, blink and you’ll miss him!
Young Guns director Christopher Cain is the stepfather of TV Superman Dean Cain.
Some of the Dialogue from Casey Siemaszko’s character Charlie is sampled in the 1994 hip-hop song “Regulate” by Warren G. and Nate Dogg.