The Wild Bunch (1969)

The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch Review

The Wild Bunch is a 1969 western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring William Holden and Ernest Borgnine. It is a critically acclaimed, yet to me an overrated film.

The plot is the reason why the movie is so weak. It takes a backseat to all of the action and shootouts and that was frustrating to witness for a supposedly classic movie. It has some interesting scenes, but for the most part the plot is either boring or non-existent. I am talking about the Mexican scenes. Yes, it is very admirable that they represented them and their culture here and that choice was very refreshing and unique. However, it lead to many detour-like scenes where literally nothing happens and you just watch how they live and witness their culture. I wouldn’t mind that look into their lifestyle if it were shown in one smaller scene, but here it just goes on forever and frankly becomes boring and pointless and at times crossing the line to being a documentary.

The characters are also very boring. Not one of them was at least mildly interesting to me, not one. That is really saying something. I did not expect the greatest character development, but I still expected some likable or at least interesting characters and I never got that. They are all typical and forgettable. The acting is pretty good admittedly and it is always nice to see Ernest Borgnine in a motion picture as he is such a good actor. William Holden is also fine, but unfortunately neither of the actors got much to do here.

The Wild Bunch looks really good with some excellent cinematography and some wonderful imagery. It is of  course influential for its violence and its flashback structure. And yes, it is violent, but thankfully not too much as it is definitely groundbreaking and gruesome for that time, but is now even mild which is a good thing as I hate violence in movies. As for those flashbacks, they are really well done and I really liked the opening sequence of the movie with the stylized credits being so interesting and authentic. The whole movie is very well directed and is certainly well made with a particularly good cinematography, solid direction and score and some very well executed scenes. The shootouts last for too long, but are very well filmed nonetheless. And the whole picture is very realistic. The pacing is, on the other hand, problematic and the film is overlong. And the dialogue is uninspired, the script is so mediocre and the characters are just boring which are the reasons why The Wild Bunch disappointed me immensely. I expected a lot from this movie and it just never delivered.

The Wild Bunch admittedly looks good with great cinematography, solid acting and directing and it has some very interesting scenes, but it is still such a disappointing movie due to a boring plot, overblown running time and forgettable and rather dull characters. It is such an overrated film.

My Rating – 3

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Posted in 1960s, 1969, Western and tagged , , , , , .

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