Walon Green

Walon Green

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The Wild Bunch Review


Extraordinary
I am one of the few surviving appreciators of second bests. In hindsight, my second biggest crush in high school ended up being a much better person and is in fact the only person from high school that I keep in close contact with. Your second best is always the sneakier one, the more interesting and mysterious one. You've studied your favorite, your best, with the gumption and know-how of a private detective. You know them inside out. However, the second best is just a little less known, shrouded in an enigma; it's so irresistible that you sometimes forget why the first one is your best or favorite, but then you snap back in. If you're looking to get married soon, more than likely you will cheat or at least make out with your second favorite at some point. This is the way of the world, get used to it. It's all good news for The Wild Bunch, which happens to be both Sam Peckinpah's second best film (Straw Dogs is better) and the second best revivalist western ever made (after Unforgiven).

It's even got William Holden's second best performance (he was better in Network). He plays Pike Bishop, the head of an outlaw gang of ace criminals. We are introduced to the gang when it is nearly 10 men strong, but after a gunfight with Thornton (Robert Ryan), Pike's old partner turned bounty hunter, there are only six. Relentlessly chased, they quickly take an offer to hold up a train and steal 16 crates of rifles from it. They return to the Mexico town, still being trailed by Thornton. The only Mexican in the gang, Angel (Jaime Sánchez), insists on taking one crate so that the general who hired him won't take over his village. When they return to the general, they give him the crates and he gives them the money, but not before taking Angel and torturing him for trying to arm his village. An argument between Pike and his closest comrade, Dutch (Ernest Borgnine), sparks a return to the general's compound and stand off between the five remaining outlaws and the general's army, which consists of roughly 200 men.

Continue reading: The Wild Bunch Review

Eraser Review


Weak
Is it just me, or is Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent getting worse? I think it is, as is his acting ability, as well as his choice of films to star in. This time it's Eraser, a big-budget, small-plot, fair-to-middling feature that continues the testosterone-infused series that Arnie's been working on since Pumping Iron.

It's the cheeseball role to end all cheeseball roles: John Kruger (Arnie) works for the Witness Relocation Program as an "identity eraser," and he answers to no one (sorta). His charge is Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams), an executive with "Cyrez," who discovers that her company is selling next generation weapons to Russkie terrorists. The FBI uses her just to get the goods on Cyrez, and it's up to Arnie to save her hide from the bad guys, which includes turncoat fellow eraser Robert Deguerin (James Caan).

Continue reading: Eraser Review

RoboCop 2 Review


Terrible
George Orwell has to be turning over in his grave. Current political climate aside, something within Orwell just has to be annoyed at the endless procession of utterly stupid dystopia chic. The massive flow of filmmakers that have turned out sad sci-fi epics with worlds think they are honoring Orwell but instead are making a mockery of him.

RoboCop 2 is one of those grave-turners.

Continue reading: RoboCop 2 Review

The Hi-Lo Country Review


OK
Duel in the Sun meets It's a Wonderful Life -- in the oddest of ways. The Hi-Lo Country gives us Harrelson and Crudup as best friends in post-WWII New Mexico, where cowboys still rule a land forgotten by time. Over two rather dragging hours, a story of Harrelson's affair with the married Arquette unfolds, with Crudup lusting for the girl as well (not to mention while he courts Cruz), and Sam Elliott's evil cattle baron overseeing it all (and corrupting Harrelson's brother, Hauser). Got all that? Hi-Lo often ventures into the realm of the truly baffling, but it isn't without its charms, as Harrelson is quite engaging in his role.
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