Produced, Directed, and Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Michael Madsen as Mike Masterson
Samuel L. Jackson as Lee McGraw
Nick Nolte as Luke "The Duke" Willit
Gary Busey as Harrison "The Rifleman" Willit
Uma Thurman as Louisa "Lady Liberty" Willit
Steve Buscemi as William Kingston/The White Lightning
Tim Roth as Johnny Tassock
Johnny Crawford as Sky Larkin
Tagline: "Mike Masterson. Dangerous. Deadly. Chained to a Stagecoach"
Synopsis: Prologue: The words "Mike Masterson" make even the toughest cowboy's skin crawl. He is a brutal gunslinger with a heart of steel. Lee McGraw is Masterson's sidekick. McGraw is a Jack of all Trades and a master of disguise who uses his talents with speech to get himself and Mike to anywhere and everywhere they have to go. The two wreck havoc all over the West, rob banks, get women, and kill men.
Chapter One: Mike Masterson is alone. He is in the desert. The hot, blazing sun is turning his back the color of a tomato. He is naked and has bruises all over his body fresh from a beating. He is dehydrated and hungry. He wakes up. He is chained to a stagecoach.
Chapter Two: Masterson needs to get out of his vulnerable situation. Once he stands up, he looks at the stagecoach. Coming out of both side windows is Blondie, his horse for ten years. Stunned and angry, he pulls the stagecoach to the nearest town where Lee has been waiting in the saloon for five days waiting for Mike. They take the night at a room above the saloon where they proceeded to drink and play cards for the remainder of the night. The next morning, the two ship out to find out who tried to kill Masterson. They make stops all over the West and take no prisoners as they try and find the man responsible for Masterson's sufferings.
Chapter Three: Luke "The Duke", Harrison "The Rifleman", and Louisa "Lady Liberty" are The Willits. Luke and Harrison are twins, Louisa is their baby sister. They are bounty hunters. They are professionals. They will stop at nothing to collect their money. They've been on the hunt for Mike Masterson for two months. They usually do their job for the money but this time it's personal: Masterson and Lee killed their father. They are right on his tail and are showing no signs of stopping.
Chapter Four: William Kingston is an ultraviolent up and coming sheriff. He watches over the town of Rattler's Garden. Kingston is disappearing two nights a week and no one knows but his two deputies, Johnny Tassock and Sky Larkin. Tassock and Larkin, however, are trying to find Masterson to warn him that Kingston is actually "The White Lightning", Masterson's rival sharpshooter, and that he has been killing off everyone who knows what Kingston did: Dress up in women's clothing and mask, kidnap Masterson, kill his horse, beat him up, and chain him to a stagecoach.
What the Press would say:
"Bandito Express" is Quentin Tarantino's latest film and ranks high alongside his other brilliant and iconic works. This is QT's first journey into the western and it is the best of its genre to come out since "Unforgiven". As always, he pays homage to many sources including Spaghetti westerns (A Fistful of Dollars series, Hang em High, Once Upon a Time in the West), classic Western television series' (The Rifleman, Bat Masterson), and various other sources whether they be Western or not (look for the Psycho reference in Steve Buscemi's character). This time Tarantino weaves a story involving gunslingers craving revenge, bounty hunters trying to collect a few bucks, angry sheriffs, saloon scenes that are oozing with Tarantino dialogue, and (most of all) Western showdowns. The story is told in four different "chapters" and a "prologue". The chapters are told in order and this proves to be very interesting as characters are introduced to the plot before we even know who they are. As each chapter goes by, more and more characters are introduced even if they have already had significant screentime.
As always, Quentin hits up his favorite subjects including revenge, violence, and betrayal as well as his favorite players including Samuel L, Jackson, Michael Madsen, and Uma Thurman. Michael Madsen is the protagonist whose name is Mike Masterson, a dangerous gunslinger, who wakes up to be beaten up and chained to a stagecoach that has his dead horse, Blondie (an obvious homage to both The Godfather and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) inside. Wait, what? Yes, beaten and chained to a stagecoach with a dead horse inside (classic Tarantino). Although Madsen has no big scenes of finding himself or meeting God or anything of the sort, he displays amazing physical talent and excellent delivery. The real standouts, however, are the supporting cast. Samuel L. Jackson is Madsen's sidekick, Lee. Think of him as Jules meets Clint Eastwood. He is hilarious and delivers his lines just like we want him to. It's his best role since "Pulp Fiction". Nick Nolte and Gary Busey are given a classic Quentin Tarantino comeback as a pair of bounty hunter twins. The two of them are absolutely fantastic and they get their chance to utter Quentin Tarantino's infamous dialogue and do it brilliantly. Uma Thurman plays their little sister and Uma is excellent especially in her one on one shootout with Michael Madsen. In this scene Uma utters the soon to be famous words, "You know, I've been waiting for this moment for ten years and now that it's here I can't think of a single way to kill you that isn't half of the pain that you deserve.". Standing out more than anyone else in the whole cast is Steve Buscemi as the murderous sheriff William Kingston who moonlights as the grim reaper. This is Buscemi's best role to date as he shows his dramatic, comedic, and Tarantino-y badass range. Buscemi should do what Gene Hackman did in "Unforgiven" and ride the sheriff character all the way to Oscar. If you are smart, you'll know to put your money on Buscemi in Supporting Actor.
"Bandito Express" is a clever and original work by the master of clever and original, Quentin Tarantino. With an excellent compiled score, well done Western story, fantastic QT screenplay, and an ensemble for the ages, "Bandito Express" should rack up multiple Academy Awards.
Best Picture- Quentin Tarantino
Best Director- Quentin Tarantino
Best Actor- Michael Madsen
Best Supporting Actor- Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Nolte, Gary Busey, Steve Buscemi
Best Supporting Actress- Uma Thurman
Best Original Screenplay- Quentin Tarantino
Best Film Editing
Best Costume Design