Release date: November 1, 2011
Running Time: 120 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, French Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish, French
Special Features: “Rebirth of the Western” documentary, TV spots, Theatrical trailer
Legendary sharpshooter Matthew Quigley travels to Australia, only to find his potential employer is an Outback rancher planning to exterminate the Aborigines living near his land. Rather than join him, Quigley joins the natives in a fight for survival.
Directed by: Simon Wincer
This very underrated 1990 movie starring Tom Selleck was not a commercial success, but it is an entertaining flick that will hopefully gain new fans with its first-ever Blu-ray release. Set against the gorgeous Australian Outback, Selleck plays Old West sharpshooter Matthew Quigley who travels down under to work for a powerful rancher (Alan Rickman). Quigley is soon caught in the middle of a war between Rickman’s character and a tribe of peaceful Aborigines.
Selleck makes for an engaging lead man, and it is a shame he didn’t get have more success on the big screen. Maybe the giant mustache didn’t translate well on theater-goers. Anyway, Selleck manages to show some acting depth and likability while keeping the tone light, even when things get violent. Laura San Giacomo is at her saucy best as a woman with a dark past who aligns with Quigley.
The real delight of the film, however, lies in the performances of Alan Rickman and the real-life Aborigines. Rickman, just two years removed from his classic turn as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, brings another good performance here, although not as iconic as his previous work. The Aborigines don’t have to do much acting per se, and yet provide a nice emotional center and someone to root for.
Parents should be aware that the film features several intense scenes of Aborigines being killed, including several children. In addition, Aborigine women are topless, so there are several National Geographic-style scenes of female nudity. It is fine for kids 13 and older.
With a great score by the celebrated composer Basil Poledouris and David Eggby’s grand cinematography, Quigley Down Under will surprise you. It is a rousing adventure that entertains from start to finish.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The video transfer features good detail, but it seems to show some visible grain as well. There are some minor instances of lint and other debris specks on the image. The audio is 2.0 Surround DTS, and sounds much better than one might expect. Basil Poledouris’ score sounds exceptional, and voices sounds crisp and clear.
A “making of” featurette called “The Rebirth of the Western” which features some nice interviews and a good look at the approach the filmmakers took. Two TV spots and a trailer round out the extras.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
Overall Grade: B+
Quigley Down Under is a fun western that showcases the leading man talents of Tom Selleck. It has a great plot that sucks you in and a satisfying ending. The video and audio presentation is strong, but not superb. Selleck fans (as well as western fans) will want to pick it up, but it deserves a rent from everyone else. It is a movie worth watching.
Quigley Down Under is now available on Blu-ray from MGM/Fox Home Entertainment.