Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! | Varied Celluloid

Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 15 - 2008
Plot Outline: Yeah, it has “Django” in the title but don’t be fooled, it has nothing to do with the film reviewed on this site. Just another case of people trying to make a buck off another film’s popularity. Anyway, Tomas Milian plays “The Stranger”, a Mexican bandit who works with a group of white men to pull a heist in which they get a whole lot of gold. Once the gold is in their hands though, the white men turn on the Mexicans and black men, making them dig a grave and shooting them all. They all die, except The Stranger. He awakens and claws his way out of his shallow grave. Two Indians rescue him and treat his wounds and soon follow his trail. While The Stranger makes his way across the desert though, the gang of white men stumble into a small town. Once there, one of them makes the mistake of flashing their gold around and before you know it, the gang finds themselves hanging from a noose. All but one man, the leader of the gang. Our ‘hero’, The Stranger just so happens to find his way into town at the moment he tries to escape the town too. Needless to say, goodbye Mr. Bigot. Now The Stranger’s mission of revenge is over, but he decides to stick around a while and takes up with Mr. Sorrow’s gang. Things begin to sink once Mr. Sorrow finds out someone in the town has the gold that the gang has.

  

The Review: Your loyal webmaster ‘il pantsman’ is having a bit of a spaghetti western revival this week. So here I am, this is the sixth film and I’m calling an end to the festivities. I’ve been watching all of these films for the first time this past week or so, writing down my thoughts after each viewing. So, starting from beginning to end, how was I supposed to know I would be saving the worst for last? I know that sounds terrible, as if the film is putrid or something, but I just expected a whole lot more. This was the only film of the whole marathon that made me exclaim ‘that sucked!’ after the closing credits. I mean that literally, I stood up and bluntly said it as loud as I could without yelling. The film just didn’t do anything for me. It starts off well enough with Milian rising from the grave to seek revenge, but then the film basically deconstructs after Milian has no one left to kill. I supposed the director had dreams of pretension but if you’re going to deviate from formula, for god’s sake make sure you have something to say and you can convey it! There were some interesting shots most certainly, and I respect it for going in a different direction, but the direction it headed in went to nowhere. I mean that. The film wanders and plods near the end for what seems like forever, needles subplots getting far too much exposure, all to get a cop-out resolution that ends in a matter of minutes. Sorry kids, no great duel or gun battle here. There’s essentially nothing.

Bah! The more I think about the film the more upset I get. I really don’t like to feel that way either. I’ve seen people who really like the film, and I hate disliking it so much because of that. It’s just that the film delivered so very little but had such great promise. It had Tomas Milian! Tomas Milian for pete’s sake! If there’s one thing that I have learned from watching all of these film’s, it’s that Milian was a force to be dealt with. Django Kill did nothing for his screen presence. Now, I will give the film credit for the fact that it let Milian stretch out some. This isn’t his usual ‘wild’ performance or ‘rascal with a heart’. He’s much more concentrated here and desperately tries his best to make the most of this dramatic role. He does a good job, as Milian was bound to do, but his charisma is all but laid to the wayside. As some astute critic put it, he really is a zombie in the film. There are moments where I was just screaming at Milian to punch someone in the mouth, or just, do SOMETHING. Instead, his character really is essentially dead. There are moments where he comes to life, like the moment where he gets in a fist fight in a bar. Even then though, it’s completely out of character. Just take a look at the ending and the climax of his love affair (that’s no spoiler, I didn’t say anything!). There’s no consistency at all really, the character shows compassion some times but avoids other situations. He’s either a mess or just not well written.

Then there’s the ending which I commented on earlier. It was like they knew they were running out of film and had to shoot something to close it all up. It just felt incredibly unfulfilling. I don’t even know exactly what it was that bothered me so much about it, as I seen another reviewer point out (and yeah, I always read other reviews to make sure my points at least seem vaild) they didn’t even let the audience know what happened to The Stranger’s Indian pal. Not surprising since they barely let you know what happens to The Stranger. There’s no emotional growth, no character growth, no nothing. I swear it just seems like a long road that leads to nowhere. Ahh, I’m ragging the film pretty hard I know, but I find it hard to comment on the things that were done well. As I mentioned, the imagery was great. There are some fantastic shots throughout the film, nothing on the level of Run, Man, Run! or anything, but still there’s some great technical work here. In the first half of the film especially, there are some great ideas at work. Watching Millian escape from his shallow grave is an amazing way to start the film off, and his retelling of how he and his compatriots were left to die is equally as mood setting. These moments of inspiration become fewer and fewer really, but up until somewhere after The Stranger gets his revenge, it’s all gold (pun intended). Since this is a spaghetti western you would expect some amazing work on the score, but to be honest, I barely noticed it. The score seemed far too subtle for this kind of film. Near the ending I was trying my best to notice it when it played so I could accurately judge it, but now about an hour after watching it I can’t even hum it in my own head.

So it basically stacks up like this: An A for effort, but a C- for execution. I loved the idea of a man setting off for revenge, but then finding that the revenge had been taken by someone else. It’s an interesting twist that just makes you wish all the more that the director would have actually done something useful with the idea. Instead, the film comes off as a meandering mess of blandness. Now, after all of that griping and complaining, I’m giving it a 2? You expected a one didn’t you? No, I think a two is fitting. It’s not an extremely terrible film really, it just tilts below the scale of generic. To those who really love the film, sorry if I offended you. This is all just my opinion after all so maybe I’m just a doofus. I’m sure you’ll take comfort in the fact that I most likely am.

You might also be interested in:

VIDEO

TAGS

Sponsors

About Me

Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

Twitter

    Photos