Estevez is a cowboy everyone refers to as Cowboy — a deliberate nod to Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name of Sergio Leone’s beloved Dollars trilogy. The rootin’-tootin’ sharpshooter partners with greasy Confederate soldier Dooley (William Forsythe, The Rig), who possesses one-fourth of a map that will lead them to treasure. Only former NFL star/Radio Shack pitchman Howie Long stands in their way. And Union soldiers. And Spaniards. And loads and loads of gunfire.
With flashy angles and scenarios that defy physics, the telepic takes aim at aping Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado shenanigans while paying tribute to the spaghetti Westerns of yesteryear. With slow-motion shootouts set to opera and that sort of thing, you’re getting all style, no substance, but I’m OK with that in an exercise like this.
For its inevitable lags and limitations, Dollar for the Dead has its heart in the right place. It’s much more earnest than the 1993 collaboration between Estevez and writer/director Gene Quintano, the buddy-cop spoof National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1. This one doesn’t have that one’s repeat value, but it’s good for a few minutes more. —Rod Lott