The Continuing Adventures of William H. Bonnet
As sequels go "Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory" is no better or worse than the original "Young Guns" and in fact is basically more of the same. This means we basically get the continuing adventures of William H. Bonney otherwise known as Billy the Kid as the law try to bring him and the remaining regulators to justice. We get a storyline of betrayal with plenty of glorious gun fights and comical scheming from Bonney and to be honest not much else, or at least nothing which makes it any more than more of the same which isn't a criticism. What is a criticism is that "Young Guns II" starts so cleverly but fails to really capitalize on an opportunity to be something greater than it is.
Following the trouble in Lincoln, William H. Bonney (Emilio Estevez - Men at Work) and his regulators are still wanted by the law and whilst having gone their separate ways still have to keep a low profile. When Bonney gives himself up in return for a pardon from the Governor he quickly learns that he's been double crossed and whilst escaping he helps Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland - The Lost Boys) to also escape. But now on the run and looking to head south to Mexico they have another problem, there one time friend Pat Garrett (William Petersen) has switched sides and is now fronting the posse of lawman trying to track them down and bring them to justice.
As already mentioned "Young Guns II" starts very cleverly as we watch this old man, Brushy Bill Roberts, come out of the wilderness to meet a DA assistant during the 1950s claiming that he is Billy the Kid and wants to be pardoned by the Governor. That is such a clever start touching on a bit of reality and could have made for a truly fascinating movie as this old man tried to prove who he was. Unfortunately this clever start is not capitalized upon as it really only provides a way to introduce the story of Billy the Kid still trying to avoid being captured.
What this means is that "Young Guns II" turns into a very normal western as we watch Billy and the remaining regulators, Doc Scurlock and Chavez, along with Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh trying to keep one step a head of the law. That law happens to consist of one time friend Pat Garrett who swaps sides and leads the hunt for Billy and his men which expands to include Hendry William French and Tom O'Folliard. All of which whilst a kind of history lesson is really only the basis for various action scenes as the cunning Billy keeps on eluding capture be it by fighting or through his small hands which means he can slip his shackles.
Compared to more recent westerns "Young Guns II" looks very average in all areas, a western which seems to be a movie made for its star names rather than anything else. So whilst there is plenty of action and a strong stream of comedy flowing through out, it isn't anything out of the ordinary. In fact it all seems surprisingly mundane with no real artistry to the action and the comedy relying on us loving the cheekiness of Billy as he winds people up. It does lack any real depth but it is what it is a movie made for those who don't care about great action or stories rather than their favourite actors looking good.
As such whilst no one does anything wrong on the acting front no one does anything special either. Emilio Estevez is still great fun as Billy providing plenty of laughs by his manic attitude but there is no depth to the character and the same can be said of the characters played by Kiefer Sutherland, Christian Slater, Lou Diamond Phillips and William Petersen. It is a case of star names looking good, delivering simple entertainment but nothing more.
What this all boils down to is that if you enjoyed "Young Guns" you will enjoy "Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory" because it is more of the same. This means we have Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Christian Slater and many others looking good and being entertaining but delivering little depth. It is annoying that after such an ingenious start with the old man claiming to be Billy the Kid that the opportunity to be clever is wasted but that doesn't stop it from being an entertaining movie, a fun action packed western which works at the simplest level.