I don't think I could say anything here about Buster Keaton that hasn't been said a million times. His physical acting abilities are astounding. His comedic timing is impeccable. He was an amazingly talented man. What they were able to pull off without any special effects is really stunning. The dangerous stunts he performed without stunt men - amazing. The whole performance is terribly brilliant.As for the movie? I think this is a spectacular and riveting movie for it's time. I think it set the bar for what other movies started aiming for - a dash of humor, a dash of romance and a little action too. And, I think everyone should see this brilliant movie once. Perhaps, on the outside, twice. Much beyond that, unless you are a film historian, you are probably good. I say that because the movie - while being brilliant for it's time - wears on after a while. As clever as all the Spy vs. Spy tricks were between the two dueling trains, it got a little old for me pretty quick. I don't know that this would be a film that I could watch multiple times and still be as entertained as when I watched it all the way through today.
Also, this may be blasphemous, but I have to say I prefer the Chaplin movies to the Keaton movies. I understand he was the original and what an original he was. I just think Chaplin movies really benefited from that extra decade of movie experience. Chaplin movies have more going for them than physical stunts and action - that extra decade made a difference.
So, I recommend watching this if you have never seen it. Anyone claiming to be a film buff definitely has to watch it. Today's audiences won't be bowled over by it, I don't think, but if you put it in the proper historical perspective one should, at the very least, be impressed. Opposing views always welcome - let me know if I am off the mark here.