I think this movie is often overlooked because of it’s positioning as a Sharon Stone vehicle. True, Sharon Stone did co-produce and plays the lead in this Western. Also, it doesn’t live up to the Sergio Leone spaghetti western classics that it tries to re-create. But it’s still a stylish film with some great performances in spite of being somewhat empty. You always think that with a stronger script and with a stronger lead (a female Clint Eastwood), it could have been a great film.
But great performances from a stellar ensemble cast make this movie worth a second look. Stone can’t carry the lead, but the good news is that she doesn’t need to. She’s surrounded by a great ensemble cast including Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lance Henriksen, and Gary Sinise. Plus she’s got Sam Raimi directing. In addition, you’ll recognize a lot of familiar faces in people like Tobin Bell, Pat Hingle and a slew of other well-known character actors whose names never appear on the marquee but consistently turn in great supporting performances.
Hackman of course turns in his usual incomparable performance as a villain, reminiscent here of his character in Unforgiven (a brilliant movie). Russell Crowe is his usual commanding screen presence. Sam Raimi always makes a stylish movie, and this is no exception. And in case you’re wondering, yes Bruce Campbell did make an appearance, but it got cut in the theatrical release.