First of all, how many westerns(or any type of movie)do you know has the main character toss up an ear of corn to determine the direction to go? Well that may be some original input to a movie not that original. Not long after Clint Eastwood's "Pale Rider"(1985), a remake of one of the best western stories ever, comes director Alfredo Gurrola's version. This is basically a retelling of "Shane"(1953) where a gunfighter rides into town, hooks up with a boy and his parents, and helps them and their co-farmers with defending themselves against the greed of one powerful man who wants it all. A good story is always worth repeating and here it is given 1st class treatment. The slow pace is an asset, and yet if you were to watch it piecemeal or on broadcast TV with commercials it would suffer greatly. There are some changes(including the addition of a character in the form of a witch doctor)that help make it the artists own unique version, and the cast is first rate. It is in many ways a sentimental tale with mood music supplied and the violence toned down. After working with him before, director Gurrola gets an excellent performance by Mario Almada as the gunfighter. It doesn't hurt that he is teamed with perhaps his best co-stars yet in the form of Eric Del Castillo and Blanca Guerra. Carlos East, who you may remember(or are trying to forget) from "La Muerte Viviente" aka The Snake People(1971) is appropriately evil as the man in black who is the individual corporate take over. Film's copyright 1986.
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