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  • A stranger enters the saloon. He wears a poncho and reminds me, presumably not accidentally, of Clint Eastwood in "Fistful of Dollars". He goes past several dangerous gunmen, looks the barkeeper in the eye and then - asks if he's allowed to play a little tune on his violin, please? You're right, this isn't exactly repeating what you've seen in a hundred other westerns before. "Kill Or Die" is a well scripted, intelligent, but little known Italian western. The director handles matters a bit conservative, probably preferring American westerns of the 1950s to the Corbuccian close-up ugliness that was en vogue in 1967. Robert Mark plays the hero, Slovenian actor Andrea Bosic plays a very professional sheriff who is cautiously keeping an eye on all suspects, and Gordon Mitchell has a typical guest appearance as a killer in black, devoted to his job ("Where would you like to be buried?") and using the trusted maniacal grin. Thumbs up!
  • A mysterious wandering fiddler with a past (!) ends up killing a man in self defense, running afoul of a dangerous town big-shot, his sadistic son, and a slew of hired guns, including special guest killer Gordon Mitchell.

    Not a bad little spaghetti western, Kill Or Be Killed has nothing new to offer the genre, but is solid enough and has an interesting storyline with plenty of action, nasty villains, and plot-twists to keep things entertaining.

    Fans of Italian westerns will probably like this a little more than the average viewer though.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    KILL OR BE KILLED is a pretty fun spaghetti western, nothing special but one which passes the time well enough and offers enough sun-drenched action in the form of shoot-outs and betrayals to see it through to the climax. What it is is a thorough rip-off of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, with Robert Mark's hero a wandering gunslinger who gets into the middle of a fight between two rival gangs. The film is full of beautiful women, grizzled tough men, and a wonderful cameo from Gordon Mitchell, clad in black as bounty hunter Baltimore Joe. He certainly is the icing on the cake here, although he has too little screen time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Atlas Against the Czar" director Tanio Boccia's Spaghetti western "Kill or Be Killed" isn't in the same class with Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Sollima, Tonino Valerii, Gianfranco Parolini, or Giuseppe Colizzi. Basically, everything in "Shoot First... Ask Questions Later" scenarist Mario Amendola's screenplay has been depicted before and done better. A stranger rides into town, and he is the spitting image of Clint Eastwood with his poncho, unshaven jaws, and narrow-brimmed Stetson. The big difference is Jerry (Utah-born actor Rod Dana aka Robert Mark of "Hornet's Nest") plays a fiddle to pick up spare change. He riles a bad-tempered kid Spott Griffith (Fabrizio Moroni of "Shoot, Gringo . . . Shoot!") and gets into a fistfight with him and three others and leaves them wishing that hadn't tangled with him. Spott's cattle rancher baron father Jonathan Griffith (Furio Meniconi of "Duck, You Sucker") is ashamed of his son, and the drunken lout decides to pay back Jerry for the indignity. Predictably, Jerry blasts them all off the face of the earth with his fast-draw and accurate shooting. This outrage prompts the elder Griffith to hire a notorious gunslinger, Baltimore Joe (Gordon Mitchell of "Reflections in a Golden Eye"), to kill Jerry. Meantime, Jerry riles Jonathan's oldest son Chester (Alberto Farnese of "The Gold of Naples") because Jerry easily wins the affection of Lisa Drummond (Elina De Witt of "Isabella, Duchess of the Devils") and Chester has sworn to kill anybody who has anything to do with Lisa. Eventually, Jerry reveals the truth about his identity to Lisa. He is really named Ringo and he has killed a lot of bad men. Now, Ringo calls himself Jerry and tries to avoid trouble, but he has little luck. It doesn't take the angry Chester long to catch up with Ringo as our hero is being escorted out of the territory by two deputies. Chester and his gunmen kill the deputies, beat the living daylights out of Ringo, and leave him to die from exposure to the sun. These dastards have buried him up to his neck in the desert, and Ringo is a sure candidate for a coffin except he is rescued by an old-timer out shooting rabbits for his supper. Indeed, Ringo survives and breaks up Chester's wedding with the usual results and saves Lisa from a lifetime of unhappiness. "Kill or Be Killed" benefits from a zestful orchestral soundtrack by composer Carlo Rustichelli who also scored both "Ace High" and "Boothill." Rod Dana makes a good stand-in for Clint and he knows how to shoot a gun. This one looks like it was produced in Rome instead of Spain because the scenery isn't as spartan. The costumes look realistic, and "They Call Me Trinity" lenser Aldo Giordani's widescreen cinematography is above-average. Director Tanio Boccia handles with horse opera with enough competence that it is fun to watch. Craggy-faced Gordon Mitchell plays a gunslinger in black who doesn't have all his marbles, and our hero dispatches him with apparent ease. Only die-hard Spaghetti western fans will appreciate this sagebrusher.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It won't take very long in your viewing of "Kill Or Be Killed" to start experiencing a severe case of deja-vu. Even if you can't recall exactly which westerns you saw these elements before, you will know that you have seen them before. A single woman struggling to keep a hold of her land while an evil rival rancher is trying to push her and her family away so he can have the land? A lone gunfighter coming into town who has the courage to stand up to the evil rival rancher and his followers? Viewers who know their spaghetti westerns well will recognize the part of the movie where the heroic gunfighter is beat up and left for dead (and is subsequently rescued by a grizzled old coot) is derived from "A Fistful Of Dollars". Still, as unoriginal as this western might be, it is competently done, zipping by at a good clip and seldom having any dead spots. There is also a pretty good musical score by Carlo Rusticelli. So if you are a western fan who doesn't mind seeing the same things over again, this movie is probably a safe bet.