The Long Riders Reviews
This was a pretty good early 80s western effort directed by one of my favorite directors...Walter Hill. Coming off the comic book like action packed gang movie "The Warriors" this was a totally different direction than I think most people expected from him but it was just as good as his other more well known work. One of the best westerns ever In my opinion and if you haven't seen this, you're really missing out.
Starts off with a bank raid which goes slightly wrong setting the scene for a 'Young Guns' type western only with a sensible stance but unfortunately does then become a little dull throughout the middle. There is allot of dialog and family affairs between the gang members which is fine but you do loose a little interest, this does pick up as you head towards the last section of the film of course and very good it is too.
You can see where the 'Young Guns' notion cam from I think from the final big gun battle sequence of the ill-fated attempt to rob the Northfield First National Bank in Minnesota, the whole sequence is lovely with slow motion gun fire, slow motion bullet hits, horses tearing down the main street and finally leaping through a large glass window riders n all. I would say this film was an inspiration for many modern 'rock n roll' type westerns.
Despite that the film is completely serious and actually handled very well in terms of historical accuracy and artistic license. Yes allot is fictional but at the same time believeable and there are lots of accounts that have been incorporated into the film which are spot on, mainly the deaths of gang members and of course Jesse James.
Not your typical Hill film but he sure made a good one here which deserves a place among the best in the genre, its dirty, realistic, uses great locations and has a good bold cult cast line up, watch out for James Remar as Cherokee Indian Sam Starr in maybe the only bad choice of the film.
The only downside is James Keach as Jesse James. He's kind of bland, especially compared to the Carradine clan. I understand that's kind of the point, turning the mythic larger than life character Jesse James, into a simple man, but it's not the easiest to care about him.
It is however ANOTHER retelling of Jesse James and his gang story, but at least this is one of the better ones.
I remember reading the cartoon "Buffalo Bill" as a kid back in 1980 and on the backside there was a picture from "The Long Riders". I thought this movie must be cool and eventually I got to see it and as far as I remember I did think it was solid. Reseeing "The Long Riders" was not that cool however. This is first of all hardly one of Walter HillĀ“s best ones if you ask me. I reckon "The Long Riders" is a bit "amateurish" with theatrical dialogue, strange flow of story, long pointless scenes that struggles to build the characters and a record of bad fake moustaches and beards. And the action sequences carries an obvious inspiration from Sam Peckinpah, whom Hill do look up to. I reckon the fact that they managed to put together four sets of actual brothers: the Carradines, the Keachs, the Quaids and the Guests, is a bit impressive. And that we actually hear proper swedish in the movie. But, the rest is easily forgotten. Even Ry Cooders music.