Young Guns II
|Young Guns II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Geoff Murphy|
|Produced by||James G. Robinson
|Written by||John Fusco|
Lou Diamond Phillips
|Music by||Alan Silvestri
Jon Bon Jovi
|Editing by||Bruce Green|
|Studio||Morgan Creek Productions|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox
Warner Brothers (DVD)
|Running time||104 minutes|
Young Guns II is a 1990 western film, and the sequel to Young Guns (1988). It stars Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christian Slater, and features William Petersen as Pat Garrett. It was written and produced by John Fusco and directed by Geoff Murphy.
It follows the life of Billy the Kid (played by Emilio Estevez), in the years following the Lincoln County War in which Billy was part of "The Regulators" – a group of around 6 highly skilled gunmen avenging the death of John Tunstall – and the years before Billy's documented death. The film, however, is told by Brushy Bill Roberts, a man who in the 1940s appeared claiming to be the real Billy the Kid.
While the film takes some creative license, it does show some of the key events leading up to Billy's documented death, including his talks with Governor Lew Wallace, his capture by friend-turned-foe Pat Garrett, his trial and his subsequent escape in which he killed two deputies.
In 1950, attorney Charles Phalen is contacted by an elderly man named "Brushy Bill" Roberts. Brushy Bill tells Phalen that he is dying and wants to receive a pardon that he was promised 70 years before by the Governor of New Mexico. When asked why he wants the pardon, Brushy Bill claims that he is really William H. Bonney aka "Billy The Kid", whom "everyone" knows to have been shot and killed by Pat Garrett in 1881. Phalen then asks if Bill has any proof that he is the famous outlaw.
Brushy Bill's story begins with the remaining Regulators having gone their separate ways. Billy has become part of a new gang with "Arkansas" Dave Rudabaugh (Slater) and Pat Garrett (Petersen). The New Mexico governor has issued warrants for the arrests of those involved in the Lincoln County Wars, including Billy, Doc Scurlock (Sutherland), and Jose Chavez y Chavez (Phillips), who are dragged into town and imprisoned to await hanging.
Meanwhile, Billy meets with the new governor Lew Wallace who agrees to pardon Billy if he testifies against the Dolan-Murphy faction. Billy soon finds out that he was tricked into being arrested with no chance of testifying against his old enemies. After escaping, Billy along with the help of Rudabaugh and Garrett, pose as a lynch mob to spring Doc and Chavez from jail. When the gang successfully escape Lincoln, Billy mentions the Mexican Blackbird (a broken trail only he and few others know that leads down to Mexico). Garrett decides not to go with the gang and, instead, open a boarding house. As they make a run for the border along with farmer Hendry William French (Alan Ruck) and 14 year old Tom O'Folliard (Balthazar Getty), cattle baron John Simpson Chisum (James Coburn) and Governor Wallace approach Garrett to offer him the job as Lincoln County Sheriff and $1000 to use whatever resources he needs to hunt Bonney down and kill him. Garrett agrees and, forming a posse, begins his pursuit of the gang.
Billy and the gang soon come to the town of White Oaks where they meet up with former companion, Jane Greathouse (Jenny Wright) who runs a local bordello. Later that night, the town lynch mob comes for the gang and are intent on a hanging. Deputy Carlisle tries to negotiate a deal, "the Indian" (Chavez) for a safe rideout. Billy refuses the offer and pushes the Deputy out the door, who is then accidentally killed by the lynch mob. Garrett soon tracks Billy to the bordello, but is too late. Billy and his gang are continuously tracked by the posse, narrowly evading capture, but Tom (being mistaken for Billy) is soon shot dead by Garrett. As they hideout, Billy admits that the Mexican Blackbird doesn't exist; it was just a pawn to get the gang back together and to keep riding. Doc is angered and tries to leave for home, but he is shot by one of Garrett's men and sacrifices himself to enable his friends to escape.
Billy the Kid is soon brought back into Lincoln by Garrett and is sentenced to death by hanging. He is visited by Jane Greathouse, who arranges to meet him during his daily outhouse visit, where she gives him a pistol. Billy uses the pistol to kill two guards and escapes to Old Fort Sumner. By the time he arrives, Dave has abandoned the group to make his way to Mexico, and Chavez is dying from a bullet wound. During the night Garrett finds Billy unarmed. Billy asks Garrett to let him run to Mexico and tell the authorities that he killed him. Garrett declines because he believes Billy would not be able to resist coming back to the United States (which would lead to Garrett's death for lying). Billy turns around, forcing Garrett to have to shoot him in the back, which he does not. In the morning, a fake burial is staged for Billy and Garrett's horse is seen being taken by an unknown figure (implied to be Billy). Brushy Bill admits he never stole a horse from someone he didn't like, and further admits he didn't like Garrett; he loved him. Phalen, convinced that Brushy Bill is Billy the Kid, agrees to help him.
The epilogue reveals that Arkansas Dave was beheaded once he reached Mexico to discourage more outlaws from crossing the border; Garrett's book detailing his pursuit of Billy was a dismal failure and he is eventually shot and killed in 1908; Brushy Bill met with the Governor of New Mexico but despite corroboration from several surviving friends of The Kid, he was discredited and died less than a month later; whether or not Brushy Bill was Billy the Kid remains a mystery. The final shot shows Billy pointing his gun at an off screen target, promising the target "I'll make you famous".
- Emilio Estevez as William H. "Billy the Kid" Bonney
- Kiefer Sutherland as Josiah Gordon "Doc" Scurlock
- Lou Diamond Phillips as Jose Chavez y Chavez
- Christian Slater as "Arkansas" Dave Rudabaugh
- William Petersen as Pat Garrett
- Alan Ruck as Hendry William French
- R.D. Call as D.A. Rynerson
- James Coburn as John Chisum
- Balthazar Getty as Tom O'Folliard
- Jack Kehoe as Ashmun Upson
- Robert Knepper as Deputy Carlyle
- Tom Kurlander as J. W. Bell
- Viggo Mortensen as John W. Poe
- Leon Rippy as Robert "Bob" Ollinger
- Tracey Walter as Beever Smith
- Bradley Whitford as Charles Phalen
- Scott Wilson as Governor Lew Wallace
- Jenny Wright as Jane Greathouse
- John Hammill as Pendleton
- Jerry Gardner as Sheriff Kimbel
- Howie Young as Poe Posse
- Mike Diamente as Brunello
|This section requires expansion. (March 2008)|
- One scene was shot in Bisbee, Arizona and not in Old Tucson. During the opening a scene of a snowy street is used, the street is Brewery Gulch next to the Copper Queen Hotel. Coincidently Brewery Gulch was famous for having 100 bars along its three block length about the same time as the film takes place. Tombstone is less than a thirty minute (automobile) drive to the North of Bisbee.
- Balthazar Getty was replaced in 4 scenes by an 11 year-old lookalike due to an injury sustained from falling off of a horse.
- The scene where Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh (played by Christian Slater) puts a knife through Chavez' arm was added due to Lou Diamond Phillips' breaking his arm during filming.
- John Chisum (played by James Coburn) convinces Pat Garrett to accept a job as the new Lincoln County Sheriff. Coburn himself played Garrett in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
- Screenwriter-producer John Fusco appears as the "Branded Man" in the prison pit escape scene alongside Jon Bon Jovi. The cattle brand on Fusco's face reads J.C. for cattle rancher John Chisum.
Emilio Estevez originally approached Jon Bon Jovi to ask him for permission to include the song "Wanted Dead Or Alive" on the soundtrack. Bon Jovi didn't feel the songs lyrics were appropriate; however, he was inspired by the project and resolved to write a new song for the film that would be more in keeping with the period and setting. He quickly wrote the song "Blaze of Glory", and performed it on acoustic guitar in the New Mexico desert for Estevez and John Fusco. "Blaze of Glory" went on to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Jon Bon Jovi would go on to name his debut solo album Blaze of Glory (released as Young Guns II: Blaze Of Glory in the UK), which included the eponymous single as well as other songs from and inspired by the film.
Jon Bon Jovi also made a cameo appearance in the film as one of the prisoners in the pit with Doc and Chavez (at the point 28:08).
Young Guns II opened on August 1, 1990 in the United States in 1,770 theaters, accumulating $8,017,438 over its opening weekend. It finished third for the weekend, behind Ghost (in its fourth week) and Presumed Innocent (in its second week). The film went on to gross $44,143,410 domestically. The film was also successful on video rental.
Young Guns II received mixed reviews.   On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has received a 36% approval rating based on 14 reviews (5 positive, 9 negative). Roger Ebert, who gave Young Guns II 2 stars out of 4 stars, stated that "the screenplay feels unfinished, the direction is ambling, but the performances are interesting." Chris Hicks from Deseret News gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, stating Young Guns II was "sumptuously shot, very well-acted and full of potential."
- During his escape from jail, Billy shouts out "Hello, Bob" before shooting Bob Ollinger, and "Goodbye, Bob" after killing him—exactly the same dialogue that the real Billy the Kid used during the incident.
- Writer John Fusco culled much of Billy's dialogue from actual newspaper interviews and reports between 1879-1881. Prior to filming, Fusco drove Estevez across New Mexico and Arizona to visit every documented Billy the Kid site.
- July 16, 1990 Jon Bon Jovi's Solo Debut with his band members Leads Him to the Brink of An Abyss People.com
- "Allmusic (Jon Bon Jovi charts & awards) Billboard singles".
- Blaze of Glory soundtrack details Soundtrackcollector.com
- "Allmusic (Jon Bon Jovi charts & awards) Billboard albums".
- "Chart stats - Jon Bon Jovi". Archived from the original on 2012-07-28.
- Alan Silvestri discography Alan-silvestri.com
- "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. 1990-08-07. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
- "Young Guns II (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- "VIDEO RENTALS : 'Young Guns' Not Firing Blanks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Review/Film;Emilio Estevez in Reprise of Billy the Kid Role". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Young Guns II". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Young Guns II' Has the Fire but Lacks Depth". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Young Guns II". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Ebert, Roger (1990-08-01). "Young Guns II". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Young Guns II review Hicks, Chris. Deseretnews.com
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