29 December 2003 | Poseidon-3
Everything about the film is professional
Set in the aftermath of the Mexican revolution, this action drama concerns the rescue of a Mexican lady (Cardinale) who is married to a rich, older, white man (Bellamy.) She has been taken from her American home back down to Mexico by notorious outlaw Palance. Bellamy hires a motley crew of mercenaries to retrieve Cardinale, promising them $10,000 each upon her return. The crew is led by tough as nails Marvin and includes free-wheeling dynamite-man Lancaster, sensitive rustler Ryan and archery expert Strode. This foursome sets out across punishing desert terrain to reach Cardinale and bring her back to the U.S. border. The job is at least as difficult as they expected and getting back to the border is as hard, if not harder, than getting to Palance's lair was. The film has an exceptional ensemble cast of pros. The members of the rescue team form an uneasy affection for one another. Stern Marvin and toothy, off-the-cuff Lancaster make a great pair. Ryan adds years of presence to his smallish role and Strode is his usual imposing physical entity. Palance is always a great villain and has some decent moments here. Bellamy does a nice job with his sketchy character. Cardinale is amazingly curvy and attractive even in the dusty surroundings. There is also a healthy dose of strong action, much of it taking place in the impressive domain of Palance. Dots of humor along the way relieve the tension. Time hasn't been particularly kind to Maurice Jarre's offbeat score and the film could have been just a tad shorter, but overall it is an interesting and absorbing action film.