*/**** Image C+ Sound B Extras B-
starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen
screenplay by John Fusco
directed by Christopher Cain
by Bill Chambers I know a thing or two about Billy the Kid, having written a thoroughly researched, if thoroughly awful, 240-page screenplay about him. It was just after finishing this magnum opus that I discovered Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid and realized that everything I'd tried to say had already been said much more poetically, thus exiling "For What It's Worth: The Life of Billy the Kid" permanently to the bottom drawer. But at the time, I only wanted to outdo Young Guns and Young Guns II--a mission more challenging than you might think, given the films' infamy as second-generation Brat Pack fodder. John Fusco's scripts for both pictures are historically accurate, action-packed, and have a good ear for the vernacular of not only the Old West, but also the western genre. Yet the original Young Guns, especially, is miscast, directed by Christopher Cain (The Principal) like an episode of "Best of the West", and fails to either humanize Billy the Kid or justify his lore. As played by Emilio Estevez, you get the feeling that Billy's unhinged because he's running low on mousse.