I have never watched Quigley Down Under. In fact, I know very, very little about the movie.
My knowledge is threefold:
- Quigley Down Under is a Western.
- Quigley Down Under stars Tom Selleck and (I believe) Alan Rickman.
- Quigley Down Under performed very well in the video rental store I used to work for.
That last point about the popularity of the movie in the video rental store is worth noting as Quigley Down Under was one of very few Westerns that were ever checked out of the store. For some reason, despite the fact that Westerns had long fallen out of popularity, our store had an entire section devoted to the genre and as you might expect it was the dust gathering zone of the store.
The only time anyone ever paid the Western section any attention was to rent Quigley Down Under. Does that mean Quigley Down Under is a good movie? Who knows – but it’s got to at least be worth a watch, right?
Well, I am about to find out. As I am about to press play and finally watch this movie. Will it be good? I sure hope so!
*Clicks the play button*
3mins – After travelling from the US (on a seemingly very fast ship) Quigley is down under! If the entire story is reflected in the title of this movie, then I’d say we’re pretty much done already.
*Checks running time*
3mins 10secs – Hmm… this is a two-hour movie. I guess there must be a little more to it than a simple trip to Australia.
3mins 15secs – I wonder, will this movie be similar to “Crocodile” Dundee or more like that Simpsons episode, Bart Vs. Australia?
9mins – Laura San Giacomo has just turned up and she keeps calling Tom Selleck, ‘Roy’. Silly Billy, can she not see it’s Tom Selleck?! If you’re going to confuse Tom Selleck with someone else at least call him Magnum! Or Burt Reynolds.
16mins 30secs – Hans Gruber has just appeared on screen! Sorry, I mean Alan Rickman.
20mins – Tom Selleck is demonstrating his shooting skills. I’m guessing he’s going to be pretty good. He’s just travelled all the way from the States to Australia – that’s one heck of a journey for him to be a rubbish shot.
21mins – Yeah, he’s good.
23mins 30secs – Ohhhh… Alan Rickman is a good shot too. This should be interesting during the inevitable final showdown.
27mins – In a move that will surprise no one, Alan Rickman and Tom Selleck are already at odds with each other.
31mins – An observation: The Australian outback provides a great setting for this Western. It’s just so darn beautiful.
34mins – Quigley just proved his shooting skills again – and yep, he’s always a great shot.
35mins – I’m 35 minutes into a two-hour film and I have to admit, I quite like this movie. I’m not a huge fan of Westerns – they’re simply not my thing. So far, I’m fine with this one. Maybe I just need to watch Westerns starring Tom Selleck.
49mins 30secs – Wow. So, Laura San Giacomo has just shared her tragic backstory. She had accidentally smothered her baby, while hiding from Native Americans. This film has just added some depth to the character of Crazy Cora. She’s suffering from PTSD – I did not expect that.
52mins – Tom Selleck is having to prove his shooting skills again. Once again, he hasn’t failed. He’s so cool.
1hr 4mins – This movie has gotten more intense and serious than I expected. I don’t know why I expected it to be anything less. Either way, it’s good.
1hr 11mins – Quigley is becoming known by the locals as the man who helps the people. He’s a hero! He’s also got a very impressive moustache!
1hr 13mins – Dingoes!
1hr 13mins 30secs – Ah crap, Laura San Giacomo is reliving the experience she went through before, only this time she’s being attacked by Dingoes.
1hr 15mins – She stood her ground and fought back. Jeez, that was intense.
1hr 22mins – Some more tragedy now – a family has just got caught up in the conflict between Selleck and Rickman. There’s just under 40 minutes to go and I’m predicting a big showdown so that Selleck can stick it to Rickman!
1hr 40mins – It’s Selleck vs a lot of bad guys and he’s having no trouble defeating them. No trouble at all. I can’t help but feel that Quigley should be a member of the Avengers or something. I mean… I’m not saying he’s a more interesting character than say Hawkeye… but… well…
1hr 41mins – Yeah, he’s much better than Hawkeye.
1hr 41mins 30secs – Seriously, if Quigley was an Avenger then Thanos would stand no chance whatsoever. Just sayin’.
1hr 46mins – Well, the epic showdown between Selleck and Rickman wasn’t as epic as I expected, simply because Selleck is that good of a shot! See… I told you he’d make a great Avenger.
1hr 48mins – By killing Rickman, Selleck has just freed Rickman’s workers (i.e. his slaves). No big scene, they simply just walked away from Rickman’s property. Nicely handled scene.
1hr 50mins – Another nice scene to bring the story to a conclusion. The people that Quigley helped came back to repay the favour.
1hr 54mins – Quigley is getting on a boat to San Francisco. Surely there should now be a sequel called Quigley Does San Francisco? No? Oh.
OK, so I can see why Quigley Down Under was popular with customers, and it had nothing to do with ‘adult’ material. This is a solid piece of entertainment, with a strong cast, and some real depth in the story. For a movie produced when Westerns were no longer in fashion, it is a certainly a good one.
From a visual standpoint, the movie looks great, the Australian outback is the perfect substitute for the old West, and Selleck is effortlessly cool. Chuck in Alan Rickman being all Alan Rickman-y and you have yourself a top film. A very pleasant surprise. I enjoyed Quigley Down Under a lot more than I expected. I might have to re-think my stance on Westerns.
If you enjoyed reading about my first screening of Quigley Down Under, then you might like to know this is just one of 100 movies which appear in my new book: Rewind to the ’90s – A Journey Through 100 Movies of the 1990s.
The book is available as a digital edition from Amazon and features an exhaustive collection of discussions about movies, including Wagons East!, She’s All That, Passenger 57, and Murder at 1600, amongst others.
Disclaimer: I earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.