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Get Mean

Posted by JoshSamford On February - 16 - 2010
The Plot: Tony Anthony plays The Stranger, a drifting cowboy who finds himself wandering from one adventure to the next in this classic Spaghetti Western series. After literally being dragged into a town by his own horse, he stumbles into a saloon that is being looked over by a gypsy family. They beg The Stranger to help their daughter, who is a Princess, as she makes her journey across the ocean back home to Spain in order to claim her kingdom. The Stranger, ever the opportunist, asks for a lump sum of $50k dollars and they reluctantly agree. The Stranger and the princess make it across the ocean, but once on her old stomping grounds it becomes apparent that things have changed quite a bit. Their family’s enemy The Barbarians now control a great deal of the countryside, the two of them are ambushed and the princess is taken by the Barbarians and to top things off the princess’ father is dying. The Stranger, despite losing The Princess to the hands of her mortal enemy, still simply wants his money – but for him to get that he’ll have to help the Princess find an ancient stash of gold. So now The Stranger will have to sneak into Diego’s (the Barbarian King) palace, save the Princess and then have her lead him to the treasure. However, as you may can guess, things can never be so simple!

The Review
Ferdinando Baldi is a filmmaker I am fairly familiar with. Although he first made his name with sword & sandal movies in the early sixties, his best known works here in North America would probably be his Westerns. Films such as Viva Django! and Texas, Addio helped cement him in the minds of Eurocult fans the world over. However, his pairing with actor Tony Anthony also proved to be quite fruitful as he would go on to direct some popular movies, some written by Anthony himself, as well as help kickstart the popularity of 3D movies during the 1980s. Get Mean falls right between the most critically successful of the Anthony/Baldi partnership, a film called Blindman, and then what I have to assume would be their highest monetarily successful film, Comin’ At Ya which was a 3D western that helped reboot the dead technique in the 1980’s. Get Mean is actually the fourth film in Tony Anthony’s The Stranger series and it has to be the weirdest of the group. Setting the stage for the film in Europe, while actually shooting in Europe, tends to be an area of some controversy amongst Spaghetti Western purists. Although I am a Spaghetti Western fan, I suppose I’m not obsessed enough to be bothered by the issue because I actually think it’s a great idea and a novel concept amongst these films. However, I think what generally rubs most viewers the wrong way about this one, aside from it’s location and historical inaccuracies, is the general strangeness of the film. A cowboy taking on strange Barbarian clans, thinly drawn caricatures of them at that, you can get more than a little perplexed while delving into this one. It’s reminiscent of older martial arts film fare, because the foreign characters tend to be quite outlandish. Unfortunately, with this one we don’t get any Japanese ninjas. A mistake on the part of the filmmakers if ever there was one!

Get Mean starts off in such a drastically different direction than which the film ultimately ends up going. Although it’s slightly humorous that The Stranger is actually dragged into town, by his own horse, the scene doesn’t really play out for laughs. After the horse eventually drops him off, he enters into the bar where he meets the gypsy family (as mentioned in the plot synopsis) – but everything seems so dark and foreboding. There is a really excellent shot in this first section that kind of initiates this mood, where it shows The Stranger reflected in silhouette as he opens the swinging doors to the saloon, but this shot in turn is revealed as simply a reflection from a Crystal Ball. The lighting and the idea both work to an incredible degree and sell you on the atmosphere of this possibly being a moody and artistic western. However, these illusions are soon shattered by the dialogue alone. Get Mean is a comedic western, not totally unlike the kind that Terrence Hill made famous with his Trinity series, but only slightly less broad. Where Terrence Hill often played the comedy up in his films to the point where it resembled the work of Benny Hill, Get Mean shows slightly more tact in my opinion. Granted, My Name is Trinity would undoubtedly be the better movie in comparison, I just think that the comedy here is slightly less in your face and in that regard it works better for me as a fan of more traditional Spaghetti Westerns. Do not get me wrong though, Get Mean is still pretty broad and low brow in its comedic fare but ultimately what I’m getting at is it is a lesser of two evils. It’s hard to say this isn’t broad, when you’ve got Tony Anthony tied to a spit and ready for barbecue with an apple in his mouth! I’d also be a hypocrite if I didn’t mention the slightly annoying banjo music that plays throughout, as I couldn’t help but get a rather Benny Hill vibe from it!

Tony Anthony generally doesn’t seem to get the respect that other greats of the genre seem to receive, and the reason for this tends to allude me. It could be his distinctly American delivery, which doesn’t come from a gristle-bearing pair of clenched teeth like a Clint Eastwood nor a happy go lucky younger kid voice like the one that Hill was often saddled with. He delivers something completely different from the rest of the Spaghetti Western genre greats, but I’ve found that I like what he does. Nobody delivers a one-liner like this guy does and Get Mean really puts this quality on display. I think my favorite line of the movie really shows how good the man was. In the written form, “Listen. Business is business, and I happen to be a business man” comes across as completely redundant and more than a little silly, but Tony Anthony’s inflections on the words give it a slightly quizzical feel and it causes you to pause and re-evaluate the words. He takes something that should have seemed ridiculous, but instead makes it seem just a tad bit off. When you recognize this, you start to think about it and before long it’s stuck in your head. I like this about Anthony and he delivers through the whole movie, one liner after one liner. It gets ridiculous how many funny bits he throws out there. “Oh dear god they got some ugly lookin’ women in this country” and “Little sister, you are going to find out that I am the biggest god damn liar you have ever met!” are two other really amazing and star-creating lines thrown out there from Mr. Anthony and if you weren’t sold on the film by this point, then I don’t know what I can do for you.

The cast aren’t universally great or anything like that. David Dryer’s henchman character is patently offensive as a blatant and effeminate homosexual. Lloyd Batista as Sambra/Richard is inspired, as his villain character might have the most going on for him dimensionally. Sambra is a Shakespeare junkie and often recites lines of dialogue from his plays and thus The Stranger takes to calling him Richard, after Richard III. The back and forth that these two have is one of the better pieces of character action that the film has going for it. The “main” villain Diego, played by Raf Baldassarre however is generally pretty plain. He makes up for this fact by screaming for the majority of the picture – or at least in every single scene he takes part in. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Diana Lorys as Princess Elizabeth Maria. Although she doesn’t do much, she is a stunning woman and is saucy onscreen. With all of that said, this isn’t a character study. It’s an action movie. So action, is what it delivers. There are a lot of gunfights throughout and the explosions are massive in the final act, to the point that you wonder just what kind of a budget this movie had. There’s a brilliant shot in the final minutes where The Stranger stands with seemingly an entire fort exploding behind him as he coolly walks toward the camera. It’s a make or break moment and Tony Anthony sells it to perfection without so much as a flinch. The movie is a mix of varying elements that seem like they should represent a disjointed and ridiculous movie, but for some reason it really works for me!

The Trivia
  • David Dryer, who plays the homosexual right hand man of Diego’s – is actually writer/star Tony Anthony’s brother

  • The forth and only film in The Stranger series not directed by Luigi Vanzi.

  • The film’s historical context is illogical, as groups like The Moors (depicted in the film) were vanquished hundreds of years before America had been discovered.

  • The Conclusion
    It’s not a perfect movie by any chance. It is incredibly weird. There are so many odd elements throughout. There’s some strange supernatural things that happen in the final half, where for some reason or another The Stranger’s body is being taken over by spirits and they cause him to howl like a wolf! There’s a moment of black-face comedy like that of a minstrel show and it’s really hard for some people to get over the fact that we’re watching a cowboy duel with Barbarians. As much as I should probably take the high road and call Get Mean dumb and lacking in any intelligent thought – I can’t help but like this movie. I think for every “what the?” moment that there is in the movie, there’s an equally funny sequence that seems intentional and genuinely witty. The mix of elements worked for me as a viewer, but I suspect others might walk away puzzled. I give it a three out of five, but this one is dangerously close to a four. Check it out if you can get your hands on it!

    Massacre Time

    Posted by JoshSamford On September - 3 - 2008
    The Plot: Tom Corbett (Franco Nero) has been working as a prospector for the past few years, away from his hometown where his mother and brother live, but upon news that things are really wrong back in town and although his mother made him promise to never come back to this deadend town – he sets back on the road. Once back in town he finds his old farmhouse has been taken over by a rich lunatic named Mr. Scott. Tom then sets out to find his brother Jeff (George Hilton) to find out what has happened – and simply finds a drunken shell of the brother he once knew. Everything has fallen apart in his old hometown, and Tom is looking to set things right… if he can.

    The Review: If Lucio Fulci is to direct a western, isn’t Massacre Time just about the most perfect a title he could find? Four of the Apocalypse has a cool title and all, but it’s sure not “Massacre Time”. If you have seen the more popular Four of the Apocalypse, you know that this likely isn’t going to be a gory travelogue of the old west with spiders ripping out the tongues of cowboys or some ol’ saloon shopkeeper opening one of the seven doors to hell. No, with Massacre Time we have an even less gory western from Fulci than even The Four of the Apocalypse but with a very neatly crafted story of vengeance and the bonds of family. For those who stray outside of Fulci’s most popular genre will find several films worth checking out and Massacre Time is yet another one. Fulci tried his best to operate in many genres of the Italian film scene but was just so darn good at delivering what audiences wanted in the horror genre that he was often pigeonholed there. That isn’t to say films like this or Contraband are simply leaps and bounds better than his horror work – not at all; but he was a more capable director than he is often given credit for. Although he worked very little in the Italian western, his work was still a lot more accomplished than some other filmmakers who didn’t build their careers in them, and although it’s a drastically different film than his Giallo and Zombie films of the seventies – there’s still a very distinct Fulci look and feel to the movie despite not having any gore. With the exception of Contraband, I think it may now be my favorite non-horror Fulci film – and truthfully it has been too long since last viewing Contraband, it could be a pretty tough decision.

    There are a lot of things going on in Massacre Time, from the parallels between the values of Tom Corbett and his brother Jeff – to the nihilism of Jeff and the utter sadism of Junior, Mr. Scott’s violent son, Massacre Time (or The Brute and the Beast if you prefer) thanks to the rich script from Italian crime auteur Fernando Di Leo the film is always making improvements upon itself and makes for a very fine blueprint for Fulci to deliver a very tightly scripted and unique western. Sometimes old Fulci would get hungup on the visuals of his films or the FX work, or whatever it was that distracted him in City of the Living Dead/House By the Cemetery, but here he showed great talent in delivering a very precise and tightly scripted story with twists and turns along with a good deal of visual flair and subtext. The characters are all rich, despite being what some might consider genre pastiche, especially those played by genre greats Franco Nero and George Hilton. These two colliding together with such a finely tuned script couldn’t do anything other than produce a couple of fantastic performance. Nero is very subdued here, this is most definitely not Django or Keoma. His character is actually a very passive one, just an ordinary man. Not a master of the iron able to shoot a hair off the brow of a man from three miles away. If anything, he has a good right hook but that’s about all he has going for him and not too many people in this old west are looking for a boxing match. Hilton’s character starts the film as a drunken lowlife, and while watching it I simply figured he would simply remain as passive as his brother with an interest in the drink only. His character does remain an alcoholic – but when his talent as a gunslinger is revealed, it genuinely comes as a shock. I don’t care that it’s George Hilton, he seems such a fantastic drunk in the beginning of the film that it’s hard to imagine such a character showing anything resembling heroic features or talents. You have Sartana and Django starring in a film directed by Lucio Fulci and written by Fernando Di Leo – it’s like a who’s who of Italian cult cinema converging for our enjoyment!

    The film is as visually expressive as the script is beautifully crafted, and although the DVD transfer on my copy is pretty terrible (The Region 2 disc is supposed to be much better) the visual look of the film is still surprisingly brilliant. You can see in the above gallery a couple of examples, particularly that shot of the sunrise while Franco Nero’s character passes by in silhouette. The wandering camera is always in the center of the action, and action there is. Especially in the final shootout sequence, Fulci ups the ante and goes all John Woo on the audience – some fifteen years before that director even stepped behind the lens for A Bullet in the Head. Don’t mistake me, people aren’t wearing long black trenchoats and firing from a pistol in each hand while diving through glass around a hospital, but there’s that same ingenuity and carefree attitude that allowed both directors to simply forget some of the nagging complaints of physics and go all out. Characters do flips, fire their weapons in mid-air and there’s even a few pigeons and some symbolism in there as well. Simply a great film. A very high four out of five for this Fulci classic, hopefully others out there will give it the chance it so rightly deserves.

    If You Meet Sartana Pray For Your Death

    Posted by JoshSamford On September - 3 - 2008
    The Plot: Sartana, a drifting stranger with a black coat and a tremendous knack for shooting & gambling, wanders into town on a quest for some stolen gold. However, between a few rich socialites and a Meixcan commander – the gold is being split and everyone is trying to get a larger share. Laskey, a often cowardice but always dangerous bandit, is currently blackmailing the socialites since he knows all about their deal and they used him to steal it – but he too is looking for his own fair share, and now that Sartana’s in town – so is he. At the end, who will be standing with anything and who will just be left lying dead?

    The Review: After reviewing the very awesome Sartana’s Coming… Trade Your Pistol For A Coffin, I had to do my best to track down the rest of such an amazing series. It wasn’t long before I came across the original Sartana, also known as Sartana’s Here Better Pray For Your Death which was made in the early days of the Spaghetti Western genre and features an approach that in comparison to the over the top attitudes of Trade Your Pistol, seems a little bit more of a tame outing – however for the time it was made it was no doubt as different a western as anyone could imagine. The original intention from director Gianfranco Parolini and the writers, or so I hear, was to have a series that worked like James Bond in the old west and there’s no doubt that Sartana’s drinking and card playing, gadget bearing, calm at all times character is exactly the mold for such a character, so kudos to those responsible because I have to give them credit on what turned out as an absolutely brilliant idea. The gadgets are here, but so in an uncanny ability to see every angle and every three steps ahead of him. The way in which people are checking out all the latest Saw movies every year now to see how elaborate the traps get, the same way Sartana fans check out each movie in the hopes of seeing just how outlandish his own traps and one-liners turn out to be. Much like Trade Your Pistol For A Coffin, Pray For Your Death is ultimately way too complex in its back and forth alliances and the vast amount of direct characters involved in the gold deal that you can easily get confused. Lord knows I still am, but in the end Sartana is a fun and wild Spaghetti Western that defines itself far greater than any other series that immediately comes to mind.

    They say the attribute that really defined the Spaghetti Western is the introduction of the “Anti-hero” in the case of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name. While this may true, it doesn’t hold up as a real staple of the genre or a pigeonholed for the leads. Sartana is evidence of this, as you can’t really say he’s a character out simply for himself. He’s a character who does a lot for financial gain but he’s just as apt to go after a villain in the name of his own brand of justice. He treats it like sport when he deals with fast draw gunfighters who aim to take him down, and he of course never loses. This I think is a trait of many Spaghetti Westerns really, with heroes who essentially turn into Superman. He may not fly or run faster than a locomotive, but you’d better believe that Sartana is Superman in the old west. Fastest hands in the west, unable to be intimidated or pressured, a poker player who never loses and with no real vice at all. Not even women prove to be a weakness for Sartana, even ones with very large breasts… Sartana truly is a greater man than I. Are all of these a bad thing? Not so in my opinion, though you might hear different in film school. Some films just need to create that undoubted leading man, that impossible to beat foe and Sartana is just the type. It’s fun to root for your hero when you know that not only will he win, but he’ll do the right thing in the end. There’s a boyhood fantasy element to it that I think makes it a bit of nostalgic fun. Unlike what you may expect from that description though, Pray For Your Death is an amazing feast for the eyes in terms of cinematography. Featuring so much depth to the footage and an expressive color pallet for this sort of film. Just a great looking film that uses both sets and exterior shots to their full ability.

    Sartana’s always up to something, and this first adventure is often remembered as the best and I could easily agree from the two I have seen. I’m now a confirmed fan and I hope I can turn on a few new fans to the series with these reviews. Although the overcomplicated plot for the film does hinder it some, it’s not enough to deter audiences too much. If you simply pay very close attention and keep up with character names it becomes slightly easier. Still, I have to imagine some of the English dubbing could be blamed on the grand confusion these films inspire – but really, who wants to watch a Western in Italian? A little too odd for my tastes. In the end, what matters most is how much entertainment is derived from the film – and I’ll say, it is one of the most fun westerns you’ll probably see. From Gianni Garko layed back and always smooth performance as well as the welcome cameo (can’t really call it much more than that) appearance of Klaus Kinski who gives a brief but memorable performance as Lasky’s right hand man. Lasky, William Berger, is probably the standout of the cast though with his manic personality and amazing charisma shining through at all times. He kept me glued to the film and is just awesome on screen. I’m giving the movie a high four out of five. If it were just a little more smooth in its transitions and kept the story continually flowing it would easily have been a stubbing Award winner – but those twists just keep on coming until there’s some slight confusion! Imagine the movie Heist set in the old west, not 100% perfect but so much fun and interesting that it still winds up in my favorites regardless.

    Sartana’s Here… Trade Your Pistol For A Coffin

    Posted by JoshSamford On August - 22 - 2008
    The Plot: Okay, I won’t even lie, the plot is pretty convoluted and features so many twists and turns it’s a little hard to keep up with – but essentially Sartana, the famed Spaghetti Western cult figure (played here by George Hilton), after rescuing a boy and his mother from a gang of evil bandits is then embroiled in a game of tag with said gang as they are in pursuit of gold which they frequently rob off of a stagecoach that travels through their territory. Sartana gets in the middle of things, offering his service to the company owner – but in this film nothing is as it seems. Things get even more complicated when the mystery man Sabbath enters the picture, another gunslinger like Sartana with equal ability and who dresses all in white while carrying a white matching parasol. Seems a little girly, sure, but then he shoots you dead. However will Sartana make it out with these kind of odds!?

    The Review: Sartana’s Here… Trade Your Pistol For A Coffin. How do you like that for a title? In the world of cinema, the Italians were brilliant with naming their product. Here in the states we use average terms, usually a two-word title meant to declare action of some sort. In Italy, during their best days, they used full declarative statements in their titles! Who says you can’t do it, right? Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!, A Special Cop In Action, Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man, etc. You could sell me these movies based solely on those titles and a lot of the time that’s exactly why us viewers would end up checking out these movies. The Spaghetti Western genre is very notable for these sultry titles that just suck you in, even the more popular Sergio Leone films had some pretty nifty titles. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – that’s a pretty unusual title right there, same for Once Upon A Time In The West. Long sentence based film titles meant to lure you in, and that’s exactly how I found Trade Your Pistol For A Coffin. Once I read that, I knew I had to see this film. I have unfortunately never had the pleasure of seeing any of the Sartana films previously made to this one but I’ve read up on them a little. It seems that this is the fourth (official) film bearing the name Sartana and features George Hilton stepping into the lead role as the titular character. Though I can’t speak of many of the differences between this film and previous films made with different casts and such; but I will say that Trade Your Pistol certainly stands out by its own merits and definitely doesn’t let you down if you come into it looking for all those reasons guys like myself enjoy the subgenre.

    All I can speak about is this film itself, and for what it is SHTYPFAC is a fantastic western, deliberately over the top and always moving along at a swift pace. Big reveals are a constant, and absurd sequences of shooting prowess so beyond all human capability are so frequent that the mind can hardly absorb it all in one sitting. This to me was one of the more fun aspects of the film, little moments like a man with matches that are lodged between his own toes taking his pistol and shooting the ends of them all and lighting each match one by one. Then there’s all of the little gags with Sartana, shooting his enemies through a loaf of bread and then later being called out for it as his enemies catch him at lunch once again and telling him “stand up, and move away from that bread!”. Hollywood westerns often had one man taking on an army of pistoleers, but rarely did you see one go so far as to make shooting a superhuman ability. Shooting at the hip is a tough enough ability for an experienced marksman, but shooting from within the holster… shooting through bread… shooting through boots – I have to think Sartana had some kind of Spidersense going on. I’m not sure if this is simply a running gang throughout the whole series, with Sartana blasting his enemies through varying objects constantly – or if its something introduced in this film alone but I am definitely giving it my thumbs up because even though it is completely unrealistic to be as amazing with a pistol as seemingly everyone in this film is – it certainly makes for one interesting piece of work!

    In many ways SHTYPFAC embodies a lot of the ideal greatness that the genre took on when Sergio Leone showed all of the world just what a western could be with his Man With No Name trilogy. Although Leone did keep his films a little more grounded in reality, Sartana takes itself above rational thought and creates something unique nd fun. The plot is almost inconsequential to the real story here, which is that with enough “cool” characters, a ton of “cool” superhuman bits of gunfighting superiority – you ccan make one COOL movie. The plot really isn’t a bad one at all, but at times things move so fast its hard to keep up with every little thing. Like I said though, what makes the film so special isn’t just that. It’s the atmosphere, the booming soundtrack and the larger than life characters who make no mistakes. Caricatures of the Spaghetti Western subgenre, but done to perfection here. I have to say I really enjoyed my first Sartana film and I hear the rest of the series is even better. Things get a bit overboard in the way that the characters are presented as being able to shoot the hair off a chiahuah at four hundred miles away – but if you take it as part of the charm (which it is) it becomes all the more enjoyable. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to see the rest of the series.

    Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!

    Posted by JoshSamford 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.




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    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.