Wow, what a movie. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve been watching it again and again every since I first had it on VHS back in the early 90’s. It’s just so damn cool! For starters, let’s talk about the cast. We have a lot of young talent from the early 80’s in this one, and they all more than do their share of good acting. Swayze is great as the leader, Charlie Sheen is surprisingly restrained and non-psychotic, and C. Thomas Howell actually plays the most disturbed and mentally deranged psychopath in the movie. I mean, it’s not like he goes crazy in an obvious way, but after drinking deer blood, he turns into a truly soulless mercenary, and even has what can be called either the most badass or the stupidest death in the entire movie. But my favorite performance comes from Lea Thompson, who plays a traumatized young girl who learns to become a badass. I think she’s a very underrated actress and it’s sad that she’s mostly known for goofy comedies like Howard The Duck or The Beverly Hillbillies. She should be as big as Nicole Kidman. We also get some really cool cameos from people like Harry Dean Stanton, Powers Boothe and Ben Johnson.
I give most of the credit to why this movie is so bad to director John Milius, who also directed Conan The Barbarian, although I prefer this one. Milius shows his obvious knowledge of film language and history and showcases a lot of sequences that seem like tributes to more classic films. The skylines will remind everyone of the films of John Ford, and the sequences on horseback will remind you of David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia. I also like that he’s able to give the Russians a more human aspect, instead of making them generic evil characters without redeeming qualities like Steven Speilberg would have done. This is just a great action movie, with a lot of great scenes, great acting, and a great script. One of the best.