The Austin Chronicle


Rated PG, 129 min. Directed by Richard Donner. Starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Graham Greene, James Coburn, Alfred Molina.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 27, 1994

Nothing in this film is serious, from the dialogue to the in-jokes to the costumes, everything is played for subtle laughs. As an updated version of the old western TV show, it does a pleasant enough job. Gibson fills Garner's old boots nicely; he's got the suave good humor to do the job, and he does it well. If it weren't for the period costumes, though, you might just find yourself confusing the Maverick character with Gibson's Lethal Weapon persona, Martin Riggs. Foster's Annabelle Bransford is a bit of a stretch for the actress; it's not her usual role, but her comic timing is impeccable, once you get used to it. Director Donner made his name with action films, and it shows: maybe the only things this film does take deadly serious are its back-to-back stunts. Certainly, much of the movie's wit and style stem from screenwriter William Goldman, who won an Academy Award in 1969 for his Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid script. This is a rollicking, Saturday afternoon adventure, the quintessential summer movie.

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