Silverado

During its first half hour, this 1985 western by Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill) does a decent job of developing some dry 80s humor (up to and including John Cleese) without completely undermining the genre, yet Kasdan's considerable skills as a plot carpenter seem to desert him as soon as the story moves to the town of the title, a frontier community threatened by a greedy cattle baron—the action turns choppy, confused, and arbitrary. Kasdan has created four heroes for his film—cuddly Kevin Kline, macho Scott Glenn, freaky teenager Kevin Costner, and noble black Danny Glover—in an apparent attempt to placate as many segments of the audience as possible, but all the strategy buys him is a diminished impact: none of the characters has time to come alive on the screen (Kasdan resorts to a TV-like shorthand, substituting shtick for personality), and consequently none of them assumes enough authority to carry the moral and dramatic center of the film. With Rosanna Arquette, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum, and Linda Hunt.

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