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Good Clean Spaghetti Cinema Fun

Author: Steve Nyland (Squonkamatic) from New York, USA
26 March 2009

Light hearted fun here from the Italians & Spaniards, who set aside their spaghetti western and Euro horror trappings to tap into the success of THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Genre stars Tony Kendall (ATTACK OF THE BLIND DEAD) and Stan Cooper (RETURN OF THE ZOMBIES) lead the good guys against the scoundrel Richeleu, played with slimy panache by Ettore Manni, who sort of reminds me of European B cinema's Kevin Spacey at times. Rabble rousing fun for the whole family as the last four loyal swords to the king join forces -- sort of -- with a kung-fu clan that wandered in from an Antonio Margheriti film by the looks of them. And all in surprisingly good taste for the most part.

I quickly lost track of the plot which probably has little to do with Alexandre Dumas' books, but like all spaghetti quickies goes instead to create little moments of interest strung together for 90 odd minutes. And made on less of a budget than the average catering bill for a couple days on a typical A list project of today. There's a minimum of dialog, only that needed to move the story forward, whatever it was, and an emphasis on slapstick that some might find odd considering who's involved. This was probably aimed at families, and while kids might be amused the real joy here is for genre film enthusiasts to get to see Tony Kendall aping D'artangan & Stan Cooper taking a pie in the face. Who can pass that up?

Director Silvio Amadio is best remembered for his kinky Giallo sex thriller AMUCK with Barbara Bouchet & Rosalba Neri writhing in bed together, but proves himself a capable action director with derring do + oaths of loyalty galore. The climactic few minutes get a bit hectic with the various subplots weaving together into a whirlwind that manages to shuffle the stars off to the sides with some annoying potty humor, but it's over quickly enough and everyone ends up smelling like a rose. Not much of a body count but then again it's not that kind of a movie, and a pleasing enough example of how the Italians actually had a sense of humor after all.


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