The film opens with the assassination of Jesse James (Kristofferson) and then flashes back tothe last years of the lives of the James brothers. Ostensibly retired from their outlaw ways, they can’t quite settle down. Jesse is the wilder of the two brothers, while Frank is much more of a homebody, and is frequently seeing cursing his stubborn animals. Imagine the kind of western you’d expect to catch on cable in the late 80s, and you’ve imagined this movie. Kristofferson is notably more convincing in his role than is Cash.
The music sounds good in this 2.0 mix, but the soundtrack as a whole doesn’t particularly impress. The tone is a little on the harsh side, for one thing. For another, only the music gets the surround treatment — the sound effects have no rear speaker presence at all. Given that the film is from 1986, I wouldn’t expect the sound to be up to 2003 levels, but I’ve heard much better from much older.
The picture is decent, but again, nothing to write home about. We have the usual contradictory statements on the case from Artisan as to whether the film was reformatted or not to make it fullscreen, but I strongly doubt that this film ever had a theatrical life. The picture is rather grainy at times, and the print is a bit dirty as well. Not bad, but not terrific either.
Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, from the movie on down to the transfer and package.