HTF REVIEW: "Young Guns" Special Edition (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Young Guns
    Special Edition






    Studio: Artisan
    Year: 1988
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 102 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: Spanish




    Six reasons why the west was wild


    Over the past week I have had the opportunity to
    watch and review some "classic" westerns that
    include Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Nevada
    Smith
    and Little Big Man. It's
    interesting that within this same time period,
    Artisan sends me a copy of Young Guns a
    film that can easily be categorized as a "modern
    classic" western, though it fails somewhat for
    the fact that the story is told through a '80s
    perspective.

    Filled with a cast of Brat Pack actors, this is
    the story of six young men who work for Englishman
    John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) as regulators. Dick
    (Charlie Sheen), Charley (Casey Siemaszko), Steve
    (Dermot Mulroney), Doc (Kiefer Sutherland), Chavez
    Y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) and the notorious
    Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) are what Tunstall
    calls "his boys."

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    After their benefactor is gunned down by a gang
    working for a corrupt rival cattleman (Jack Palance),
    the boys find themselves suddenly deputized at the
    urging of a local attorney (Terry O'Quinn) who
    urges them to bring the murderers to trial. But
    revenge, not justice, becomes their main means
    of motivation and soon they find themselves on the
    wrong side of the law as they try to escape Murphy's
    men, bounty hunters and the U.S. Army.

    Young Guns was released in 1988, a time
    when movie westerns had long faded away. Enter
    director Christopher Cain who saw the potential
    in revitalizing the genre by introducing a hot
    young cast of actors who intrigued audiences
    who were ready to experience Westerns with a
    modern new twist.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The film certainly must have appealed to the young
    audience of its time, and I wish I was amongst those
    that had seen it during its theatrical run. The
    problem I have seeing it years later is that as
    someone who has a more refined taste in western
    fare, Young Guns comes off as being a little
    silly. It's simply a product of the 80s and
    certainly cannot be compared to any classic
    western film. Despite my feelings about this,
    I still had a reasonably good time watching this
    young cast strut their stuff -- especially Emilio
    Estevez who convincingly portrays the lunacy cold
    blooded Billy was plagued with.


    How is the transfer?


    Here lies my biggest problem.

    This DVD comes from Artisan Home Entertainment,
    a company I strongly regard as snake-oil salesmen
    who will readily resell you the same cruddy transfer
    under "new and improved" packaging.

    I realize that Young Guns was originally
    released as a non-anamorphic standard surround
    product by Live Entertainment back in 1998.
    While the transfer had been rated as being most
    improved over earlier formats releases, there is
    no doubt that this title was due for a brand-new
    anamorphic release.

    The problem is, I am not entirely satisfied with
    this transfer, and frankly, I have nothing to
    compare it to in order to determine if Artisan is
    once again pushing the same materials under a
    new banner.

    Certainly, this anamorphic 1:85.1 transfer is
    an improvement over the previous DVD release. The
    inner struggle I am experiencing is over the
    fact that this transfer just doesn't stand up
    against other catalog product from this era being
    distributed by other studios. The transfer isn't
    halfway bad, but it's not as crisp as a Special
    Edition product like this should be. I am inclined
    to believe this is the exact same transfer used
    five years ago. The picture has a rather muddy
    look to it with images that are rather soft and
    not overly detailed. There are some scenes that
    are slightly unfocused. Colors look rather smeared
    at times and flesh tones look overly red. Any scene
    that is remotely dark loses much of its surrounding
    detail. Last, but not least, there is so much grain
    throughout this movie that I am sure was not to be
    intended. Perhaps I can take the easy way out and
    say that this is the best this film will ever look,
    but I just don't have enough faith in Artisan to
    make any transfer look as incredible as it should
    the first or second time around.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Here's another problem I have. Artisan is pushing
    the fact that this film is being released with a
    5.1 DTS audio track. Thing is, the film doesn't
    make great use of the track. Most of the audio is
    front-heavy, coming across with fairly good
    dynamics. Gunshot sounds pack a lot of punch here.
    There is just so very little use of the rears here
    that this doesn't make for an enveloping sonic
    experience. Gunfights always seem to remain in the
    front channels, creating action that happens in
    front of us, rather than around. Up until the
    film's final climatic gunfight, I rarely heard any
    effect noise thrown to the rear channels.



    Special Features

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Up first is a full-length commentary with
    Lou Diamond Phillips (Jose' Chavez y Chavez), Dermot
    Mulroney (Dirty Steve Stephens) and Casey Siemaszko
    (Charley Bowdre). It's kind of a cool track to
    listen to mainly for the fact that these guys are
    just kicking back and fondly remembering their
    experiences working on the film. They begin talking
    about the filmmakers wanting to make a Mad Max sort
    of western, integrating the MTV type of mentality
    to reach the young 80s audience. We learn a little
    about the film's New Mexico location and the things
    the cast did to pass their time. One thing is for
    sure -- the boys absolutely had the time of their
    lives shooting this film. None of it seemed like
    work for them. Somewhere through this commentary
    is an interesting story told by Lou Diamond Phillips
    who remembers a conversation he had with aging
    actor Brian Keith. Keith had actually met Lou
    Diamond (the guy Phillips is named after) in a
    bar in Tokyo in 1948. Keith is remembered as being
    a real "pro" even when he is thrown off the back
    of a mule. There isn't anything technical discussed
    here -- just a whole lot of memories of what it
    was like to work on this film. Not a bad listen.

    [​IMG]

    An optional Trivia Track can be enabled
    that gives viewers text in the subtitle area of
    the picture that provides little-known facts and
    insights about the Wild West, the cast and the
    film.

    [​IMG]

    Billy The Kid - The True Story is a highly
    informative 30-minute documentary that tells us the
    true story of Billy the Kid from his birth to his
    troubling teen hood and then on to his joining of
    "The Regulators" gang where he eventually became
    one of the most notorious murders ever known. The
    story is told through the words of historians as
    well as the editor of True West magazine.

    In addition to the film's original theatrical
    trailer
    there are promotional trailers for
    Dune, Reservoir Dogs, Rambo and Total
    Recall
    .

    This is another thing that bothers me about
    Artisan....they create a Special Edition without
    the inclusion of English subtitles for their
    feature. Yes, there is closed captioning available,
    but many find the large black areas surrounding
    the text to be distracting.


    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]

    It's great to see that Young Guns has
    finally received an overdue anamorphic transfer.
    I'm still at odds as to how good this transfer
    really is, but it certainly should be on par
    with the original 1998 DVD transfer.

    With a pretty neat cast audio commentary, a trivia
    track and a factual Billy The Kid documentary this
    DVD is a worthy upgrade. Let's just hope Artisan
    doesn't try to repackage this DVD a year down the
    road.


    Release Date: April 22, 2003


    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    As one of my all-time favorite Westerns, I cannot wait to get this in my player. Widescreen Anamorphic, that's all that matters to me, if the PQ is somewhat subpar or the dts 5.1 track is a little weak makes no never mind. One hell-of-a great movie.


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  3. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    This has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years. I'm a huge Kiefer Sutherland fan and just love his role as Doc. Nice review Ron, sounds like a bit of a let down.
     
  4. Walt Riarson

    Walt Riarson Supporting Actor

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    While I think Young Guns II is the better movie of the two, I will probably double-dip on this one (considering I bought the original at Walmart a couple of years ago for only $6.99, I won't feel so bad about spending money to upgrade this title).
     
  5. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Screenwriter

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  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Anyone that accuses me of being a puppet for the
    studios should read more of my reviews. I praise
    them when they deserve it, but don't hesitate to
    point out things that could be done better.

    I need to stress this again....

    The transfer of Young Guns is not a bad one.
    It just looks like something mastered back in 1997/1998.

    As I stated, it probably looks as good as the
    transfer on the 1998 non-anamorphic release. I
    would guess it to be exact the same exact transfer.
     
  7. Joshua Moran

    Joshua Moran Supporting Actor

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    Ron if you lied in your reviews how could a studio improve. I think it is great that your honest.
     
  8. Declan

    Declan Second Unit

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    As a child of (and still) the 80's i'm definitley getting this. It always had a kind of grainy/gritty feel to it anyway, so the video quality wont bother me too much (actually those screenshots look's like it has pretty good image quality). As for the 5.1 remix, i've only ever heard it in mono off my old crappy taped off tv version (hangs head in shame), so whatever this is to anyone else, it's definitley a step up for me. But Artisan really should get themselves in gear and do things right, not only in picture quality (i thought the T2 UE quality was great, but looks like i'll be getting it again), but in packaging as well. I got a lend of the Total Recall SpEd at the weekend and decided to watch it Sunday night (it was the Mars tin cover). I dont know why but it took me 15mins to get the friggin tin open.

    Anyway rant over,

    back on topic, i'm definitley getting Young Guns and great review Ron.
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    looking on the back of the case it lists dts 5.1 and DD 2.0.

    SO only 5.1 in dts?
     
  10. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    Looks good to me...Okay Warner, Bring on the S.E of Young Guns II, please.

    And while you're at it, could you finally release the score from Young Guns II to CD please? Thank you.
     
  11. Glenn_Jn

    Glenn_Jn Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    What I appreciate the most, and why I keep checking out, Ron's reviews is that even if he doesn't like the movie itself he will tell us if the transfer and sound are good, bad, or ugly anyway! Keep it up, Ron. And YOUNG GUNS is also a guilty pleasure of mine, so I think I'll skin out and buy this one.
     
  13. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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  14. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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  15. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Ahhhh Nate...

    Unreleased scores are not that difficult to come by if there is enough of an interest. It IS the score.

    Love that score.
     
  16. Matt Odegard

    Matt Odegard Stunt Coordinator

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    You see the size of that chicken!?!?

    I laugh my ass off everytime I see that part.
     
  17. Ryan_TD

    Ryan_TD Stunt Coordinator

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    I get confused between Young Guns 1 & 2.
    I can't remember which was better, so I might
    pick this up if it's under or around 10 bucks....
     
  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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  19. KristianH

    KristianH Agent

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    Is it just me that have problems seeing the pictures in the review?
     
  20. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

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    Its not just you...[​IMG]
     

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