Quigley Down Under could have easily turned into nothing more then a macho, gung ho exercise in violence and masculinity. Don't worry it has that but with some good casting choices and great story it does rise above that a bit.
Taking place in the late 19th Century, Matthew Quigley a Wyoming cowboy answers an ad to travel to Western Australia for a rich land owner, Elliot Marston who needs a sharp shooter. Quigley is more then ready for the job with his modified Sharps long rifle that can shoot the fleas off a dingo and a good quarter of a mile give or take. Quigley is stunned to learn he isn't going to route critters and varmints off of Marston's land, it's the native Aborigines. When Quigley hears this and after throwing Marston out of his house (twice) Quigley and a crazy hooker (named Crazy Cora) get thrown out in the middle of nowhere by Marston to die.
Marston fancies himself a Dodge City sheriff type, but here he is channeling a Bond villian assuming that his plan to kill Quigley will go according to plan. Quigley however makes a name for himself across the country by killing many of Marston's men who are kiling the Aborigines off any way they can. Marston gets wind of this and isn't too happy as he gets more of his men to hunt Quigley down.
The casting in this movie is great. Alan Rickman is hissably evil as the murderous Marston who can't stand the natives on his land and it's arguably one of his greatest parts. Hans WHO? Snape WHAT? No way, Elliot Marston. Tom Selleck is ruggedly awesome as the nearly unflappable Quigley who knows how to shoot and whos sense of honor keeps making him do cool acts of bravery and even outsmarting his foes. Laura San Giacomo is Crazy Cora a hooker with a screw loose who latches onto Quigley upon his arrival in Australia and believes Quigley to be her estranged husband Roy. Her ramblings through the movie would be more annoying if they didn't pay off in two scenes as a way of coming full circle.
Quigley Down Under is a little lax in it's pace here and there and sadly falls into a few of those improbable movie moments that you scratch your head at. HOW does that baby survive the fall down the cliff? Could the rowboat Quigley hides behind REALLY stop bullets? Is Marston THAT dumb to do what he does at the end? Can ANY of Marston's men hit the broadside of a barn? It's those little things like that which bugged me a little from giving this a higher mark.
Good points has to be Quigley demonstrating his awesome rifle (a rifle that Red Dead Redemption would model one of it's guns after 20 years later) not to mention his shooting abilities, the aforementioned casting and it's beautiful landscapes. Another must be the story which is a nice twist on the western.
I gotta wonder if this movie was a bigger hit if they wouldn't have made more Quigley movies. Quigley Down Under could have been followed by Quigley Lone Star or Quigley in Canada almost like a western Bond series where Quigley could have fought evil cattle rustlers or crazy mountain men. Tom Selleck vs Michael Barryman? Thats money.
Although Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner are probably considered the top modern Western moviemakers, Tom Selleck can't be ignored as perhaps the most active of the bunch. He has taken a film genre that many consider a has-been and made it a staple of cable television. Just turn on TNT or TBS on the weekend and you're guaranteed to see at least one Western on with Selleck in it. He has become a staple of the genre, as well as a top spokesman for the cowboy way(not to mention the NRA, huh Rosie O'Donnell?) &nbs … more
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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Tom Selleck plays Matthew Quigley, the cowboy hero in this traditional Western, set very untraditionally in Australia. After some macho silliness in the opening minutes, the story settles into a surprisingly evocative tale of Quigley, a sharpshooter who had come to the country to work for a land baron (Alan Rickman) and who is on the mend after a brutal attack. In the company of a woman (Laura San Giacomo) abused by that same baron, Quigley gets his strength and his shooting skills back while healing in the midst of aboriginal people as well as some stunning Australian settings. Director Simon Wincer (Phar Lap) brings a lot of integrity to this rare horse opera from contemporary Hollywood.--Tom Keogh