While a Mexican revolutionary lies low as a U.S. rodeo clown, the cynical Polish mercenary who tutored the idealistic peasant tells how he and a dedicated female radical fought for the soul of the guerrilla general Paco, as Mexicans threw off repressive government and all-powerful landowners in the 1910s. Tracked by the vengeful Curly, Paco liberates villages, but is tempted by social banditry's treasures, which Kowalski revels in.Written by
Sergei Kowalski uses a Spanish Astra 400 pistol. The pistol was not introduced until 1921, after the Mexican Revolution. See more »
Kowalski aka the Pole:
So, Paco Roman is a clown. Well, better a live clown than a dead hero. As I, Sergei Kowalski, Polish emigrate to the New World, always realised...
[fade-in to flashback of Paco working in a mine]
Kowalski aka the Pole:
When our story began, Paco was only a peon. But one... with a difference.
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This film was actually one of my favorites at a student movie theater really many years ago. It was kinda cult and thus shown quite often and the audience could have been always the same. Like many of Corbucci's works it has frequent showings on German TV. IL MERCENARIO is very comparable to the better COMPANEROS which has particularly a much better cast. It's another buddy western with a Nordic (blond) and a Mexican guy where the first is cool and intelligent and the other hot tempered and rather low witted. Compañero Milian is much slicker than Musante who many times prevails just as a fool and is closer to Tuco Ramirez of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Nevertheless Musante feels more realistic as a peasant than the grimacing Milian. Nero is more dominating in his role as the mercenary of Polish origin than as the Swedish Peterson of COMPANEROS. He is never really convinced of the revolutionary values. Curly/Ricciolo (Jack Palance) seems pretty superfluous for the plot and serves as a comic relief character with an extra portion of sadism. In the absence of a real lead villain he enters the final duel.
The pace of the film is fast and the excellent (maybe Morricone's best) and rousing score supports the generous action. Machine guns are roaring and counting the bodies falling seems pretty impossible. Impressing wide screen photography immerses the viewer.
9/10 with a slight nostalgic bonus. Top 10 Spaghetti Western.
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