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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Three Amigos was not a great movie. It was a good movie with moments of greatness. One of the areas in which John Landis and crew excelled was the cinematography. The locations shooting as well as the stuff filmed on the soundstage are colorful, perfectly lit and framed and are basically eye candy. Elmer Bernstein's soundtrack is perfect in every way. Randy Newman's songs are fabulous (and his singing as the 'singing bush' is hilarious). The absolute best part of the movie is the "Blue Shadows" sequence, featuring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short, singing a western ballad written by Randy Newman while surrounded by a campfire, singing horses (with mouth movements hand-animated that are better than much of today's CGI), lots of animatronics critters listening in and probably the most beautiful sunset ever filmed (indoors, on a soundstage I might add). I could never tire of that song or the segment. Otherwise, there are much better movies with Chase, Short and Martin (although not together). Either you love this film or you don't. I fall in the 'love' category, but it's still not a great movie. The predictable plot and sometimes repetitive slapstick can be grating on the nerves at times. Still, the good parts far outweigh the not-so-good, and it actually gets better with multiple viewings. Maybe it's just taking me longer to finally "get it".
By rights, judging by appearance, this comedy should have rated 9 or 10
stars with most viewers. In the mid-eighties, both Martin & Chase were
at the top of their field & game, and Short was the new hot kid on the
block. It seemed a 'no chance to lose' scenario. This is not a
worthless comedy, but the first half-hour is especially lame, almost
amateur hour. Rather than getting caught up in the tribulations of
these 3 idiotic western/comedic actors of the silent era, you're
actually embarrassed to be watching them as they strain to squeeze a
few laughs from a clichéd plot. Much of the blame for the beginning can
be laid with director Landis, who was unable to utilize their
prodigious talents for some reason, indulging in cringe-inducing
slapstick. Then, slowly & gradually, the pace and the laughs pick up,
until we're all enjoying the three masters of comedy at their best
moments. They all have the physicality down pat, emphasizing an almost
effeminate way of moving when up against real cowboys or bandits (the 3
are really naive pansy actors, after all).
Besides the obvious parallels to The Three Musketeers tale, this is mainly a parody of "The Magnificent Seven" storyline (in this case, with only 3 heroes, rather than 7). Once down in Mexico, running about in the desert or crooning with the wildlife, the 3 stars make the most of it. Some of the scenes turn out to be classic Martin, especially when he informs his 2 compadres that their make-believe show is suddenly 'real' and the whole magic chant stuff involving the invisible swordsman (whacky stuff, but kind of inspired). It's also interesting to watch Martin up against the more clownish and more stupid Chase in this pic. As said, they were both tops in comedy during those days, but Martin seems to dominate in the first half (maybe 'cause he was also co-writer); then Chase sort of comes into his own towards the last third. Short manages to outshine both of them a couple of times when it involves physical mannerisms (check out his horse-riding,gun-playing style). This also reminded me of "The Wild Bunch" in some scenes, what with German arms dealers interacting with the Mexican bandit gang. It's worth a 2nd viewing just to catch a few of the better amusing scenes again, which also means it's an uneven product taken all together.
Chase, Martin and Short play silent era movie stars who get axed by
their studio when their films start under-performing. They soon get
hired by a Mexican village to scare off the maniac who's terrorizing
them. But the movie stars don't know that this show is for real.
Try fitting an invisible swordsman (who gets shot), a singing bush (and a talking turtle) and a room full of hard drinking gun toting Mexican lowlifes who're scared of the sight of Chase, Martin and Short into a workable idea for a film. Somehow this mishmash works, mostly thanks to the film's three irresistible leads. At times the film is laugh out loud funny and fans of the performers consider this film a minor comedy classic. But despite the excellent Amigos it's actually Alfonso Arau, as the villain El Guapo, who completely steals the film. Delivering a terrific comic performance, Arau dominates every scene he's in.
Three Amigos has good moments, and lots of them. Good stuff.
I agree with Jerbeargood from Arizona, Phoenix. This is a fantastic
comedy I don't understand why it has a low rating here. I would give
this 9/10. Great cast and good Plot.
One of the best parts of the film:
Riding through the desert, HOT. The first Amigo, Steve Martin, opens his flask with great anticipation, only to discover there is about a teaspoon's worth of water in it.
The next Amigo, Martin Short, pours the contents of his flask in his mouth. The flask is full of sand.
Then Chevy Chase, the third Amigo, opens his flask and it seems as if it has an endless supply of water. It pours all over his mouth and face and shirt. He has enough water to gargle, spit, swish water in his mouth, and spit again.
After his fill, then tosses the flask aside. The flask hits the ground and water comes pouring out of it. The other two Amigos have been watching this the whole time. The scene ends with Chevy Chase applying lip balm and then offering it to the other two.
The "Three Amigos" (Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short) are a
silent screen comedy act, who recently got fired from their producer
(Joe Mantegna). Because their last adventure bombed at the box office.
A lovely Mexican woman (Patrice Martinez) wrote a letter to The "Three
Amigos" that her once peaceful village is being terrorized by a fierce
bandit gang. Although this woman is quite naive thinking The "Three
Amigos" are real heroes. The "Three Amigos" thinking they are in Mexico
for fortune and a personal appearance. But they find out, they are
dodging real bullets from the fierce bandit gang.
Directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Coming to America, Trading Places) made enjoyable if one-noted silly farce. The film has some hilarious moments and memorable songs, written by Randy Newman. Martin, Chase and Short are extremely well cast in the film. Alfonso Arau is a entertaining villain, if you do remember him as One of the Key's villains from "The Wild Bunch". The "Three Amigos" was a modest box office hit that find more success on video and television. Saturday Night Live Television Producer:Lorne Micheals is one of the producers of the film. The film also has cameos by Jon Lovitz and the late-Phil Hartman. Brain Thompson (From the "Cobra" fame) has a bit part as a German Villain. Most enjoyable for fans by director:Landis or the three lead stars of the film. Written by Steve Martin (Bowfinger, L.A. Story), Lorne Micheals and Randy Newman. (*** ½/*****).
If you don't smile at any point during this movie, your sense of humor is
This movie is set up to make fun of several classics and itself, at the same time. Writers developed the funny and artistic way of getting a couple of out of luck actors to believe they are playing a major gig in Mexico, and they pull it off. Then they add the classic love and heroism in an actual and understandable form. They comedy routines are timed perfect to keep the plot moving and the film from feeling long. The cast they put together has very familiar faces which the crowd easily recognizes as being funny and know they are going to get a good laugh. Truly and artistic masterpiece and a cult classic.
A trio of silent silver-screen actors are fired from their job for asking to actually be paid to do the next movie. They quickly get a message that they are needed for a job in Mexico. They arrive to do their show, but find they are not on any stage set and the villains are for real. The story moves as they have to rescue one of the villagers and they have to find their way to the banditos lair realizing they may need help in order to stop the villains from coming back to the village.
This is a wonderful treasure for a comedy collection and great to see again on the BIG SCREEN. This is certainly one that falls into college cult classic favorites.
As a HUGE fan of slapstick comedy, I find Three Amigos to be extremely
funny. Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short team up to bring out
what made us all love them so much on Saturday Night Live and all of their
comedies to follow.
The movie shows us a small Mexican village that is being terrorized by El Guapo (ironically, Spanish for "the handsome one). When all hope seems lost, one of the girls from the village, Carmen sees a showing of "The Three Amigos" about three warriors who protect the peace and (at the end of the particular show she watches) refuse to take the reward money because the justice is their reward. Believing that this is her village's one chance at freedom from El Guapo, Carmen sends for the Three Amigos, promising a huge reward if they come, assuming that they will turn it down like they did in the show.
Of course, as we all in the real world know, "The Three Amigos" is merely a TV show that, on the very day that Carmen's telegraph reaches them, is canceled and the actors fired. Lucky Star (Martin), Dusty Bottoms (Chase), and Ned Nederlander (Short) read the telegraph and mistake it as a request for them to act out the show, and in desperate need of money, take up the offer and head down to Mexico. Things get crazy as villagers praise the "warriors" while Lucky, Ned, and Dusty simply believe that these people are just big fans. However, when they discover that "it's real!!", the guys must make a decision to go back to Hollywood or become the Three Amigos... for real.
Most people on this message board have said that they're not big fans of the movie, but I personally love it and wish that I could find it on DVD. If you're not a fan of slapstick (or just don't like Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, or Martin Short), then yeah, I wouldn't recommend this movie. However, if you do like it, then I recommend you go and rent this movie... right now.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase are THE THREE AMIGOS!(cue
the Amigo salute, which is a cross between the Macarana and a hernia
exam.) This is an funny, but uneven spoof of old westerns, especially
The Magnificent Seven(Seven Samurai). The song and dance scenes are the
highlights. Martin, Chase, and Short siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing The Ballad
of The Three Amigos, Martin and Short, shaking it fast, do a lover's
number with Chase on piano, and Martin, Chase, and Short sing one in
the obviously fake night trail. Also, watching the three try to scare
of bandits by spouting silly dialogue and riding in slaloms is very
amusing. The music by Randy Newman(songs) and Elmer "The Magnificent
Seven" Berstein(score) add a western feel to the movie. The supporting
cast of Patrice Martinez(Beetle Juice), Kai Wulff(MacGuyver), Alfonso
Arau(The Wild Bunch, Romancing The Stone), Tony Plana(An Officer and a
Gentleman, Monk), and Brian Thompson(The Terminator, Buffy The Vampire
Slayer) add value as well as cameos by Joe Mantegna, Jon Lovitz, and
Phil Hartman. The movie fails by giving us a village with few people to
care about, sometimes jarring scene transitions, overused jokes, and
another "hey, I am an idiot" performance from Chevy Chase. Landis tries
too hard to stick to the plot of The Magnificent Seven when he should
have let the amigos run wild and the movie buckles whenever there is an
action scene. This is still a pleasant distraction for fans of it's
P.S. My cousin and I will always be THE TWO AMIGOS!
If when you think of an 80's comedy, you think of movies with Chevy Chase,
then that would DEFINITELY include this little flick. Funny at times, lame
at most, it's just about what you'd expect from Chevy, Steve and that little
dude with ADD. No, not Justin Gibson...
Never mind. Anyway, the plot of the movie is that three silent film stars, the three amigos (or is it supposed to be capitalized? I don't know; never mind), lose their jobs. They then get a letter from a woman in a small town in Mexico that their village is being terrorized by a vicious baddie. However, the stooges (and hey, there's three of them!) mistake the letter to mean that they are being asked to act in a play sort of a thing. They then go and find out what's going on. Not really something I'd call a laugh riot, but it has its moments, and if you're a Chevy Chase fan, this is DEFINITELY his kind of humor. As is capitalizing the word DEFINITELY.
Three failed silent movie actors Lucky Day (Steve Martin), Dusty
Bottoms (Chevy Chase) and Ned Nederlander (Martin Short) seemingly land
up with a dream job; they get an offer of 100,000 pesos to protect a
small town in Mexico - the three amigos assume that this is film work
and that everyone else is along for the ride, but they soon learn that
what they're involved in is real and the 3 Amigos quickly find
themselves having to rescue Carmen (a Mexican girl) who has been
kidnapped by the evil El Guapo (Alfonso Arau) and whom is seen by El
Guapo as his own personal prize.
Three Amigos is a western spoof, and for me most obviously it is parodying The Magnificent Seven. In some respects it does work; the set up to the story is good as are the evil Mexican bandits (with the leader clearly being an Eli Wallach type), but sadly this western spoof doesn't work consistently enough....
Where it doesn't consistently work is in the amount of laughs that the film throws up; it is fitfully amusing in areas, but not really as a whole. The film has a slapstick and silly feel to it (which sometimes works) when for example there is a good visual gag or examples of amusing dialogue, but far too often there are stretches in this film where neither element exists and you're left with some sequences that aren't that funny - some of the song and dance numbers don't really work and the camp-fire scene produces rather mixed results in the comedy stakes.
Where the film works slightly better is in the occasional way that it shows the flaws with our protagonists; all of them are idiots, but in different ways; I did like the way that Steve Martin's character is called Lucky Day yet more often than not, it was him that messed everything up for his Amigos - clearly an intentional irony exists with his character. Likewise, the same exists with the other 2 Amigos with Chevy Chase being notably dim-witted; the chemistry between all 3 leads is what really keeps this picture above the water and as I said despite there being a distinct unevenness with the writing and directing it does kind of work from time to time.
Whilst for me, this film was OK and quite funny at times, it is very uneven and it never works as well as it should do. Clearly, it is intended as a parody of The Magnificent Seven, but sadly it is never as good as the material that it is parodying and for that reason it can only be seen as something as a failure (despite it having some amusing moments).
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