This movie reminds me of a trip we once took as a family through Oklahoma: Long, boring and interminably forgettable. I am not even going to bother looking up names or dates or facts to try and sound informed. It is a slog from beginning to end with dismal music, a lead "star" lacking any kind of charisma, tacky mid to later 1970s sets & costuming, and action sequences that unfold with a somnabulistic dullness that undermines whatever effectiveness the film may have had. Even George Hilton costumed and made up to look like Christopher Lee as a villain with some interesting dualities cannot save the film, and that is a chore.
The other reviewer is correct -- this movie is a disappointment on a number of fronts. Much of the blame lies with the casting of one Carlos Monzón as the lead, a gambler/gunfighter/would-be lawman referred to as El Macho. Mr. Monzón is not even to blame for his own performance, an Argentinian boxer turned actor who was tragically killed in a road accident in 1995 after leading a colorful life that is more interesting than the entire film (see his bio here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0600406/bio ) and is a textbook example of "gimmick casting" potentially sinking what might have been a passable twilight years Spaghetti Western. While he probably would have made a decent stunt performer or 2nd fiddle action presence, as a lead he leaves a lot to be desired. Lacking the ability to project any kind of emotion or depth, he wanders through the film with the same facial expression and look to his eyes that reminds me of a deer being jacklit by a pair of headlamps.
His technique may have improved over time but here he is about as personable as a plastic action figure doll, which in itself wouldn't have been a bad thing. John Phillip Law is another actor who usually plays the same one or two notes as a character, yet he exudes charisma when compared to Monzón, whom even his leading lady doesn't connect with. Without a lead that can create interest in his dilemma the film relies on it's villain for interest and George Hilton does a fine job channeling Christopher Lee yet the script as written doesn't really give him much to do. About the only thing I can remember clearly is a sequence where he repeats the good old Major Jackson from DJANGO gimmick of giving someone a chance to run for their life before picking them off at the last second, and for a unique touch the film arms Hilton with a flintlock rifle that looks like a blunderbuss.
That's about it though, with the requisite beatings, card games, saloon showdowns, hell bent for leather rides to save the day, and a potentially interesting torture scene where El Macho is stood up on a pair of blocks with a noose around his neck & the bad guys making a game out of trying to pick up a rope to knock them loose while riding on horseback. There are even some downright risqué moments with the leading ladies doing things like taking baths or bedding down with El Macho & some of the extras that injects actual nudity into the film, but if one can't even clearly remember the nude scenes did they really matter? The answer is yes, of course, but since the story never gels they are just smatterings of exploitation to liven up an otherwise forgettable Italian made Western starring a novelty lead who curiously never needs to shave once in the film. If your lead actor in a Western only makes an impression like that you know you are in trouble.
So without even an interesting musical score (synthesizer keyboards?) what are we left with? A clear demonstration of why the Spaghetti Western fad died out and why a few noble attempts to resurrect it failed beyond their individual novelties. Along with a couple of Bruno Mattei films this was one of the last of the Italian Westerns from the 1970s, usually relying on some gimmick (here it's a Hispanic lead actor who was a major sports star) and the injection of exploitation elements to engender viewer interest. Unfortunately the end result is a bit too tame & listless to really amount to much and in my opinion the film is perhaps worthy of it's obscurity. Completist fans of the genre might want to check it out for Hilton's offbeat villain role (look for an extremely rare Greek made video showing the uncensored widescreen print) and to say that they have it in their collection. But one viewing will certainly be enough for most fans, and it isn't every day you can say that about a Spaghetti Western if you love them as much as I do.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?