Sunday, August 5, 2012

Maverick (1994)

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Graham Greene, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Dub Taylor, Geoffrey Lewis, Paul L. Smith, Dan Hedaya, Dennis Fimple, Denver Pyle

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The greatest gambler in the West has finally met his match.

Plot: A gunslinging con man develops a tricky scheme to make a killing at a major poker tournament in this comic Western inspired by the popular television show. Mel Gibson assumes the role of Bret Maverick, the handsome rogue who hopes to cheat his way to success. In need of a large stake to enter a major card competition on a Louisiana steamboat, Maverick decides to take advantage of a few small-town poker players. These include the seemingly sweet Annabelle Bransford (Foster) and the intimidating Angel (Molina), neither of whom is too happy about their loss. Things become even more complicated for Maverick when the law gets involved, with Marshal Zane Cooper (Garner, who played the role of Maverick in the original television series) giving chase. A series of stagecoach chases, complicated cons, and gun battles ensues, with Annabelle and Maverick finding time for plenty of flirtation along the way.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? You betcha!

It's been a lot of years since I saw this and boy, oh boy, is it fun. I can't recall seeing a Western this fun in the theater since. There have been some good ones but not grin-inducing as this picture. Gibson's at his lovable prime. He's so genuinely likable that I didn't like Jodi Foster's character because she kept fucking him over. Watching Maverick get out of every single scrape (and still take a good licking) is tremendously fun. The supporting cast and cameos is a who's who of classic b-movie and Western actors as well as a lot of country & western music stars of the day. I love pictures like this where I find myself constantly looking for some old familiar faces in the background. Outside of the leads, Graham Greene steals the movie in my book. He's hilarious and should have been nominated for an Oscar for a supporting role. I was almost in tears with laughter and he does so effortlessly well. This has got me in the mood to slap on one of my all-time favorites, THREE AMIGOS (1986). What a hoot!

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