In the Wild Bunch the movie opens with a group of aging outlaw’s final score, a bank robbery. The event concludes with a violent and overtly bloody shootout that would generally mark the finale of a movie. This is correct in that it marks the finale of an era, for the characters and the world they live in. They simply can no longer keep up, the times are changing, technology advancing, and they’re style of life is getting left behind in the dust that they spent so long galloping through. They abandon their careers for the simpler life of retirement. They enjoy this time, they live their fantasies. During this time the law is always on their tracks, bounty hunters. The further into their fantasy they get, the closer their demise seems to get. When one of their own is captured they are faced with the choice of escape or what is certainly a suicide mission to attempt and free their fallen behind comrade. For them it is not a choice. They all die in what can only be described as a nauseatingly gore filled bloodbath of a battle. They might have succeeded in removing themselves from the wild west however they could not be separated what is inherently their nature. The west was only wild because the wild bunch were present, they influenced their surroundings, not the other way around. It is only after the final shoot out that the bounty hunters catch up with them, now only bullet riddled corpses. They never got caught, they could never get caught because they were already trapped in their own personalities. They turned themselves in to their instincts. The vacation, the fantasy, was bound to end and they knew it.
18 Jun 1969 (USA)