I may be the only person in the universe that actually likes this movie. Of course the last time I saw this, I was 16, and not yet force-fed twaddle like Resnais, and being conditioned as to what to appreciate in cinema. Even so, this film was enough to make the great Lee Van Cleef hang up his six-guns forever, with the exception of riffing his cowboy image for Cheetos and Midas Muffler commercials. He is superbly slimy in this one, nonetheless-- with a big earring, bandana and goatee, his character McLain is outlandish, but in a good way. Despite the exploitative nature of the material, much of the film is otherworldly- the violence and the characters. Shot in orange hues and dreamy soft focus, Leif Garrett (yes... Leif Garrett) rides the trail of vengeance after Van Cleef's gang of slimeballs after they murder his family. He gets an ally in Jim Brown, who shares his thirst for revenge after Lee rips off his mine. The fact that some of the violence is ludicrous actually works- take for instance the scene with the scorpion, or when an outlaw has rocks dropped on his head in slow motion. The last half of this revenge western has a dream-like quality; perhaps it was meant to accentuate the state of mind of Garrett's character, and of a child at that. Dealing with such a loss and seeking retribution for it puts one in a strange state of consciousness-- how often have we felt after the death of a loved one that we are dreaming. or hoping that we will wake up soon? But at least, because this film is so bizarre, it is not your average revenge oater. It at least makes you think about you are watching. Isn't that what cinema art is supposed to do?
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