Largely overlooked in the post-Unforgiven wave of Westerns, director Walter Hill's biopic of hard-drinking, sharp-shootin' frontiersman `Wild' Bill Hickok doesn't really deserve unearthing.
Unlike many icons of the old West (especially self-mythologising murderer Wyatt Earp), Hickok had legitimate claims to fame as an Indian fighter, buffalo hunter, lawman and gambler who became a legend in his own lifetime. But while Hill attempts to explore the burden of celebrity - with every punk kid out to kill himself a household name - the sepia-toned flashbacks to Bill's past only offer superficial shootouts or scenes of lost love. No flesh or feeling, just blood and brooding.
The killing sprees become comical ("You don't ever touch another man's hat") and, while Jeff Bridges provides his ever-impressive presence as the world-worn Wild one, we never get behind the persona. For so enthralling a life story, this is lethargic, Hill proving he's ridden a long way in the wrong direction since his excellent 1980 genre pic The Long Riders.