Quigley Down Under (Blu-ray)
Tom Selleck recently has made a resurgence on television that brings the question – why wasn’t he a bigger star in his day? Sure, he ruled on MAGNUM P.I. (oh, the ‘stache), but that never quite translated to big screen stardom. Perhaps it was passing on RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK for that very television show… who knows? After watching QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER, one thing is clear, it wasn’t his charisma that was lacking, or his talent.
This is the story of Matthew Quigley (Selleck), a sharpshooter from the United States who is hired by wealthy land owner Elliot Marston (Alan Rickman) to come work for him in Australia. When Quigley arrives he is mistaken by Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo) for her ex, a lout named Roy. This misunderstanding leads Quigley to beat up some of Maston’s best men before they realize who he is. We learn early on that Quigley is a man who quickly takes action and is not afraid to stand up for what he feels is right. When he dines with Mr. Marston his first evening at his new home, he learns that the reason he has been hired is to kill aborigines from long range. The dinner scene with Rickman and Selleck is the best in the film; we learn pretty much all we need to know about both characters.
As Quigley is not willing to take the job, he soon finds himself defending himself from Marston’s goons. Cora runs out to save him, and soon, Quigley and Cora are marooned together in the deserts of the outback with no water and little chance for survival. When they are saved by the very people Quigley was brought to kill, they form a bond with them and Quigley begins to warm to Cora as well. However, the brief peace of their time with the aborigines is shattered as Marston continues to try to hunt them down.
The story is simple and it is a theme that has played over and over in books and cinema, but QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER doesn’t falter due to this fact. It primarily falters thanks to some truly uninspired acting from San Giacomo as Crazy Cora. She comes off as a caricature so often that when they try to finally explain her backstory it plays like a soap opera instead of the truly traumatic event that it could have been. This may sound like a fairly small problem but her character is so ingrained in the entire movie that it just drags everything down.
Selleck gives a great turn as Matthew Quigley. It could have been a breakout role, but the movie never picked up the steam for which they hoped. Rickman is a bit one dimensional as the evil Marston, but he is always a joy to watch even when he plays things a bit loose. The rest of the cast is a big bowl of fine, nothing special but nothing really poor either. The soundtrack is pretty great, reminiscent of the westerns of the old days, with the exception of two scenes with absolutely TERRIBLE 80’s-era synthesizer playing in the background. Regardless, this is a movie that you will enjoy if you like Selleck or enjoy the western genre.
Video: (1080p, 2.35:1 Widescreen) The video on the film looks great, especially the sweeping shots of the ocean or the Australian outback.
Audio: (English 2.0 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio) The audio is a nice mix with some great sounds crossing between standard western and Australian aboriginal sounds. You’ll feel completely submersed within the atmosphere.
The Rebirth of the Western (07:14) This is a vintage featurette from the time the film was released. It is interesting from an anthropological perspective, but not a lot of fun and even more lackluster when you consider this is the ONLY special feature on the Blu-ray disc outside of the Theatrical Trailer (01:52).