Comic westerns were all the rage back in the early '70s, spearheaded by the success of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer in their many pairings. I have to confess that I'm not really a big fan of the genre. Sure, I like some of the movies on occasion, but the overriding goofiness and silly slapstick can quickly outstay its welcome for me. So when I sat down to watch TRINITY AND SARTANA, SONS OF BITCHES, I was in for a bum-numbing viewing experience. This is a one-hour-and-forty-five-minute movie that easily feels double that length, thanks to the plodding, barely-existent storyline and the sheer number of extraneous characters and sub-plots that go nowhere. Essentially this is a film where our two heroes wander around, getting into one scrape after another, but always coming out on top.
Headlining the cast is Robert Widmark, who starred in a series of Italian/Turkish rip-offs known as the Three Superguys series, which in turn ripped off the 'Three Supermen' films popular in Italy. I've never liked Widmark and here, he's resplendent in cowboy gear, complete with gold locks and his trademark impish character. He struts his stuff in a series of athletic fight scenes, doing some Yuen Biao-style wall-jumps and essentially acting as a knockabout fighter a la Jackie Chan. Unfortunately Widmark remains frankly annoying throughout the entire movie, so his role is a big turn-off for me. However, he's countered by the second star, Harry Baird, a black British muscleman who first starred in the likes of THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN before turning to spaghetti westerns in the 1970s. In a word, Baird is fantastic, a performer with a gift for comedy – witness his expressions and his timing. It's a real shame that he developed blindness due to glaucoma and had to give up acting, because I've really liked this guy, no matter how bad the film is in which he's starring.
The rest of the cast are essentially irritating, especially the guy playing 'El Tigre', whose overacting knows no limits. So what of the story? I admit, I found it hard to follow, with my attention wandering on more than one occasion. There are bar-room brawls (one at the end lasts a good ten minutes!), Widmark using some kind of heavy Gatling gun to tackle enemies, and a distinct lack of any kind of violence or bloodshed – this is tame, kiddie stuff all the way. The action fails to ignite the screen and the film as a whole feels like a bloated mess, with only Baird's appearance making things slightly bearable. In all other ways I find this a failure.