Young Guns II (NTSC) (1990) (NTSC)

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Released 30-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 104:01 (Case: 103)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Geoff Murphy
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Emilio Estevez
Kiefer Sutherland
Lou Diamond Phillips
Christian Slater
William Petersen
Alan Ruck
Balthazar Getty
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Alan Silvestri


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, a montage just before the credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    "I've been to gold towns, silver towns, I've even been to turquoise towns. But I have never been to a bat s*** town. Can't wait to see the women!"

    Young Guns II picks up a little while after the original, with the surviving Regulators scattered to the winds while the other faction in the old Lincoln cattle war has cemented a monopoly position. Billy The Kid (Emilio Estevez) continues to ride through the areas surrounding Old Fort Sumner, with two cohorts who go by the names of Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh (Christian Slater), and Patrick Floyd Garrett (William Petersen). After a very strange prologue sequence that I won't spoil for those who haven't seen the film, the action picks up with a group of bounty hunters attempting to collect on Billy, who promptly kills them all without batting so much as an eyelid.

    Upon returning to Old Fort Sumner, he hears that the current governor of New Mexico, Lew Wallis (Scott Wilson), is offering an amnesty in exchange for testimony against the Irish cattle farmers who instigated the violence of the previous film. Unfortunately, this offer turns out to merely be a ruse on the part of the Irish politicians who are running Lincoln County, who promptly arrest Billy and put him in what passes for prison. Meanwhile, Jose Chavez Y. Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Josiah Gordon 'Doc' Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) have been rounded up and put in a pit where they await hanging. When Billy manages to escape, however, he promptly returns to break Chavez and Josiah out of prison, taking them back to an old eatery in New Mexico. After Garrett leaves the group, telling them that he plans to buy the eatery and turn it into a business, Billy recruits two new men in the shape of Hendry William French (Alan Ruck) and Tom O'Folliard (Balthazar Getty).

    Okay, so the latter of those two is actually a boy playing a man's game, but Billy considers that he needs all of the allies he can get right now, and he is quick to tell his comrades about an old broken trail that will take them into Old Mexico. After a violent confrontation with one of his late employer's former allies by the name of John Chisum (James Coburn), Chisum and a couple of officials make Pat Garrett an offer that would be hard to refuse. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of American history will know what that offer entails, so I don't think it is revealing much to say that Pat chases Billy all over the countryside, killing numerous things that get in his way. Where the surprises and twists in the narrative come from is in how the prologue relates to the rest of the story, which is also based upon fact if you believe the text before the end credits.

    For those who already know how this ends, however, I'm sure you will agree that the ending for Mr Rudabaugh was quite funny, given that somebody finally knowing his name gets his head cut off. However, the film loses its way in the last couple of reels, not sure whether it is meant to be an action-adventure, or a painfully factual account of Billy The Kid's life. By the time I finished viewing this film for the first time, it left me feeling quite empty and sad, a feeling that never quite abated until I viewed the film a few more times. Emilio Estevez is quite convincing as Billy The Kid, although I do question how much the script he is working from coincides with testimony from those who knew the man behind the legend. Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips turn in great performances that would instantly typecast lesser actors, but Christian Slater tends to prove that he is only good at playing Christian Slater. Still, if you want to see a dazzling example of why films are shot in widescreen, then this is definitely it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    My sister and I have viewed this film so many times on VHS that I believe we could both recite the dialogue well ahead of time, but until today, neither of us had seen the film in its proper aspect ratio. The difference this alone makes is astounding - the shot at 4:34, when the story proper begins, with a crane shot over a canyon, looks awful in Pan And Scan. The shot in which Tracey Walter drags Balthazar Getty across the floor of the cantina at 39:29 can make a person dizzy in Pan And Scan, and there are even classic Sergio Leone-style shots such as when the Regulators enter White Oaks at 55:35. Before I saw this DVD, I had little idea of why there was so much raving about Dean Semler's photography for this film. Now that I know the truth, there's no way I can ever go back.

    As you might have guessed by now, the transfer is presented in the accept-no-substitutes Panavision ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced. That's the good news - the bad news is that the transfer is in NTSC, so you will need to make sure your equipment is compatible before purchasing.

    This transfer is as sharp as can expected of an NTSC transfer, but I still feel it would have been better in PAL, even if it is a massive improvement upon the pitch-corrected PAL broadcast I remember seeing back in the early 1990s. This is also a very dark film - many of the shots are shot with minimal lighting, and the shadow detail is often quite limited as a result. Thankfully, there is no low-level noise in this transfer.

    The colours in this transfer are mostly variations on green and red, with the occasional brown in between for variety. This is not the most varied of palettes, but the colours are impeccably rendered with no smearing or composite artefacting.

    MPEG artefacts were occasionally apparent in the form of pixelisation during the sun-hazed shots that open the film, but this artefact was easy enough to ignore. Film-to-video artefacts were a minor problem, with such things as a coffin at 35:52, or a roof at 83:07, showing small amounts of aliasing. Film artefacts were found in moderate amounts, with a few sizeable black and white marks appearing in the picture every reel.

    There are no subtitles whatsoever on this DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 kilobits per second, and a French dub in Dolby Digital 2.0 with surround-encoding at 192 kilobits per second. I listened to the English dialogue.

    The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, but the Wild West accents, not to mention some characters talking with their mouth full, meant that some lines were a little difficult to understand. Some of the dialogue is spoken in Spanish, but this arrangement was more conspicuous than anything else, because the words in question had little or no context to them. There were no visible problems with audio sync.

    The music in this film consists of a luscious, beautiful score by Alan Silvestri, and some songs by Jon Bon Jovi that, to be quite frank, often make me wish the acoustic guitar had never been invented. The musical theme we hear as the camera pans over the canyon when Emilio Estevez begins his narration, combined with the shot itself, is one of the most beautiful bondings of sound and vision you're ever likely to experience. The songs by Jon Bon Jovi, on the other hand, are so dated, repetitive, and formulaic that it destroyed the credibility of many awards overnight to hear that he'd been nominated for his work on this film, leave alone winning anything.

    The surround channels are used to separate the music from the rest of the soundtrack, but they are not worked especially hard, making for another very frontal 5.1 remix. Areas where the surround channels could have been used to great effect, such as the gun battles, just go begging, which is a shame considering how well-choreographed these sequences are.

    The subwoofer was used well to support such things as gunfire, but it undid itself at some moments such as the bass drum notes at 26:57.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, 16x9 Enhanced, and very straightforward to navigate. The (partial) chapter selection menu reveals the true age of this menu design.

Featurette

    This six minute and fifty-four second featurette is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 1.0 audio. If you need an A-B example to see how much better this film looks in widescreen, the footage shown in this featurette will do very nicely.

Theatrical Trailer

    This two minute theatrical trailer is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 Enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    From reading a reliable Region 1 review of this title, it appears this Young Guns II is merely a recoded version of that disc. However, from reading reviews of the Region 1 disc, it appears that we may be getting a slightly better transfer.

Summary

    Young Guns II is basically an attempt to recreate the gunslinging adventure of the original, but it had its work cut out for it, considering that the original said everything that needed to be said. Emilio Estevez does a great job as one of America's most notorious outlaws, but the rest of the cast deserve the real credit for their very convincing portrayals of people living in a rather sad, corrupt little society. Perhaps the biggest unsung hero of this production is the cinematographer, who provides another demonstration of why televisions are being made wider.

    The video transfer is good, but not great.

    The audio transfer is very frontal, but good.

    The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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