13 September 2001 | iaido
`How does it feel knowing you only have seconds to live?'
Very solid and straightforward entry into the Spaghetti Western genre. Lacks some of the off kilter atmosphere and inventive action of a stylish Sergio Leone or Sergio Corbucci picture, but, despite this, still manages to entertain with decent story, characters, a good villain, and dingy locations. Notably co-written by Italian film stalwarts Bruno Corbucci and Fernando Di Leo, and directed by the well-rounded Domenico Paollela.
Scruffy, good-natured, and free spirited Miguel just wants to go to New York and be an artist, and makes his money by dealing with a one-legged, underworld figure named Coyote. Cooper is an older family man, ashamed of being an outlaw, storing his loot so he can move his wife daughter away from the life he has fallen into, and he has the misfortune of having a cutthroat partner named Moxon. Cooper and Miguel cross paths when Cooper and Moxon rob the bank in which Miguel has been keeping his New York money. After slaughtering the bank tellers, Moxon tries to double cross Cooper during their escape, only to be thrown off the wagon and down the rocky mountainside. Miguel stops Cooper, only wanting his NY money, but unfortunately this polite exchange pins Miguel to Cooper as his accomplice, and the two are captured. Miguel is cleared and set free, promising Cooper that he will look in on his wife and daughter. Cooper on the other hand is sentenced to life with hard labor, stuck chest deep in a filthy marsh and interrogated as to the whereabouts of his loot. Moxon, bloodied and mean, gathers himself from the hillside and goes back to his gang of thugs.
It is after this setup that the film kicks into gear, with the surviving Moxon stealing back the loot and taking Cooper's daughter and wife, Cooper contracting a fatal case of malaria and escaping from jail, and Miguel having to eke out a living again (he doesn't get his NY money back) and deal with Moxon's gang, who is going after Coyote and his associates. So, in typical fashion, paths cross again, and the revenge fueled Cooper and feisty Miguel go after the cold-hearted Moxon and his gang, battling it out in the usual dilapidated locales of most Spaghetti Westerns. Its a good' film, by a capable director, with defined characters, maybe a little sparse or bland in the action department, cinematography/settings were good, as well as the music (although could do without the bouncy , annoying `La Cucaracha' melody in one repeated theme). A nice film all around. Well worth a look. 7/10.