Quigley Down Under

"Excellent"

Quigley Down Under Review


I don't know when the law was passed, but action movies are now required to have at least half of their content full of revved up, gravity defying, John Woo influenced kung fu acrobatics. Even classic literature is veering in that direction; witness (in my case, with a pained look) the preview for The Musketeer. It's only a matter of time before Helena Bonham Carter and Ian Holm start running on treetops, bellowing lines from King Lear. Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing that, come to think of it.

With such a glut of over-choreographed action flicks, maybe that's why I was so excited to watch Quigley Down Under, the 1990 cowboy flick starring Tom Selleck and Laura San Giacomo. Directed by Lonesome Dove's Simon Wincer, it's a simple, very entertaining tale. Within the movie's first five minutes, there's a fistfight and everyone adheres to the laws of gravity. That's a good sign.

Selleck stars as Matthew Quigley, a Wyoming sharpshooter beckoned to Australia by land baron Elliot Marston (Alan Rickman, in full villain mode). When Quigley finds out he'll be responsible for sniping Aborigines on Marston's land, the cowboy politely declines...by throwing Marston through his dining room window. Twice.

Because Marston, like most employers, doesn't like being thrown through windows, his toughs subdue Quigley and Crazy Cora (San Giacomo), the hooker for whom Quigley becomes a protector, and leave them for dead in the middle of nowhere. Thus begins the duo's quest to get back to Marston's ranch. It will include helping and learning from the Aborigines and Quigley displaying courage and his long-range accuracy with a rifle.

Quigley Down Under may have a plot that's as predictable as a game of hopscotch, but it's buoyed by three solid performances. The biggest surprise is Selleck, whom I have found bland in other performances -- he always seems to be coasting on the fact he's good-looking and has great posture. In Quigley Down Under, his understated, assured style makes him perfect in the lead role. He's a throwback to the old Western hero who let his actions do the talking. San Giacomo finds the right pitch in her performance, as we eventually find out she's more tortured than she is crazy. Writer John Hill also provides San Giacomo and Selleck with playful back-and-forth dialogue, which they charmingly waltz through. As for Rickman, well, the man was born in black. He's without peer as a bad guy actor.

Wincer directs briskly. Despite all the traveling Quigley and Cora do, the movie never plods, as Wincer makes the movie exciting without destroying the movie's old-time feel. No fancy acrobatics or pyrotechnics are seen, just Quigley using his brains, moxie, and rifle to avoid Marston's men. The movie's breathtaking Australia setting makes everything feel that much more authentic. The only major quibble I had was in Cora and Quigley gaining understanding and trust from the Aborigines, a plot line that is almost uncomfortable in its message of unity.

However, it's a small price to pay to watch a good, ol' fashioned action movie, and one I don't mind paying.



Quigley Down Under

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th October 1990

Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Pathe

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Stanley O'Toole,

Starring: as Matthew Quigley, as Crazy Cora, as Elliott Marston, as Major Ashley-Pitt, as Grimmelman, Tony Bonner as Dobkin

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.