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Taw Jackson returns from prison having survived being shot, to the ranch and gold that Frank Pierce stole from him. Jackson makes a deal with Lomax, the man who shot him 5 years ago to join forces against Pierce and steal a large gold shipment. The shipments are transported in the War Wagon, an armored stage coach that is heavily guarded. The two of them become the key players in the caper to separate Pierce from Jackson's gold. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
I generally don't like caper films. Usually, when they end, I'm still waiting for a beginning. This one is much better than usual, largely due to the action packed finale, bawdy humor and a flamboyant performance by Kirk Douglas. Wayne, as Taw Jackson, has an unusual role. Possibly for the first time since TROUBLE ALONG THE WAY, he plays a loser. He's lost his ranch, been shot and falsely imprisoned for three years by Bruce Cabot. How this has happened is never made clear; and one wonders why Wayne seems universally disliked by his former neighbors. Considering his former wealth, one would imagine at least one of his ex-ranch hands would treat him well. Just WHERE are his ranch hands. This is never made clear, and it weakens the believability of the story.
However, the caper is the thing and, whoah, it's a doozie. Getting there is a lot of fun and worth seeing. It's also interesting the cynicism presented her. In one scene, a stablekeeper dismisses Wayne with contempt, while Douglas, a hired killer, is treated with the greatest of respect(!) By 1967, Wayne had come a long way from his denunciation of HIGH NOON for it's unsympathetic, cowardly townspeople.
While not a must see, THE WAR WAGON is very entertaining. I give it a "7".
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