In this action revenge film, Valentin Trujillo plays his typical tough but charming and funny action hero. That in itself makes his films refreshing and unique. It's surprising to see such a personality in the era of Bronson where action heroes seemed to invariably fall into the category of stone-faced machines of destruction.
The setting you also already know if you're familiar with Trujillo's work. It's sort of an Italo-western setting with sombreros - an stylized mix of US western and Mexican ranchero settings colored with the Italian imagination of directors such as Sergio Leone.
The plot takes more or less the course you might expect, but with so many twists and turns that it'll never be too predictable and certainly not boring. Aside from many of the key scenes are directed in a very impactful way. While you can probably guess near the beginning who's going to live, who's going to get the boot, and who's going to marry who, it's not the type of movie that just goes from point A to point B with the requisite bumps along the way.
Another thing that surprised me about this one is the development of the villains. Don't expect any massive story arcs on the side or deep exploration into their psyche, but they're a little more interesting than the usual incorrigible hooligans who are just propped up for the hero to mow down. I think this is the first time I've seen a villain get a sad song in one of these Mexican western musicals.
So does it stand with the giants of 1970s spaghetti westerns? It might be too simplistic and small-scale for that, truth be told. However, I'll tell you that if I had paid to go see it in the movie theater in 1974 I would have felt I'd gotten my money's worth.
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