Here we have a film called "Lucky Luke" and this one is from 1991, so it will have its 30th anniversary next year. I can still say "next year" because here in my country it is still the old year for approximately four hours, but this is most likely the final review of the year 2020 for me. What a year it has been with the corona mess, but let's not talk about that now and instead take a look at this film we have here. It says 91 minutes here on imdb, but the version that was on German television last night barely ran over 80 minutes, so there are several versions out there, but the one of over 1.5 hours is probably the very longest. I am currently watching everything starring Bud Spencer that I can get my hand on and I know he is not in this movie, but while looking for Spencer's stuff, I came across this one here that stars his longtime co-actor Terence Hill and the two simply belong together, even if they have both made many films too without the other. Just like this one here. I am generally not going for those that only star Hill (or "only" because he is cool enough on his own too), but I thought I'd make an exception here because the comic book character Lucky Luke is of course really famous and fits in nicely with Hill's western background. That was where it all started and where he also had a big of an breakthrough in America before he focused on Europe where his films with Spencer were a huge hit and made really a lot of money too. Maybe not for today's standards, but all these Golden Screen wins in my country for example are fairly self-explanatory. Okay, now really about this one here. It is all about Hill. This was one of his really rare directorial efforts too, the second of his career although he was over 50 already. And the first was from over five years earlier. He did not contribute to the screenplay, but his wife Lori did. Pretty telling that she is also caleld Hill and not Girotti. Hardly anybody recognizes the name Mario Girotti, but everybody (at least here) knows who Terence Hill is. He is in his 80s now. I hope he will still live for a few years. Anyway, this one here is also based on the comics by Goscinny and that I did not know. I immediately make the connection with Asteric the Gaul of course that Goscinny and Uderzo will always be known for, but even if I kinda remembered Lucky Luke was French despite the American name and western background, I did not remember that Goscinny was also a part of this to be honest. I may really wanna check out some of his stuff. Okay, so much for the basics.
Now a few very specific words on this film. As you can see from the title of my review, I do nit think this was a truly great or creative achievement, but it is watchable enough. Hill isn't a terrible director. As a reference to the comic books, we do not only have the most memorable antagonists in here, namely the Dalton Brothers (all four of them), but they also include small pieces of animation throughout the film. One example would be the clouds from the Indians that they use to talk to other Indians. Or of course the fly that annoys every Dalton during one scene. That was also animated. It also shows that this is more about the comedy altogether. In the real classic westerns, there were actual flies in the faces of the characters. I am of course referring to the opening sequence from the Bronson movie. I am sure everybody knows what I am talking about. But Hill got away with it here. I just mentioned the Daltons already. There were not many really funny moments (about those), but the tallest Dalton got his share, like how the money you get for catching him was so considerably smaller than the money for all the others because he is really incompetent. And also how he eats the fly like a frog. He is really an anti-antagonist and without his brothers, he would not be a bad guy at all probably, but maybe playing piano professionally at some saloon. Yep, there is creative talent to him. As for Hill's Lucky Luke, I remember also the introduction basically when we see him with his trademark shooting technique from the books too. Behind the back and still faster and more precise than anyone. Nothing lucky about his talent there. But even if I like Terence Hill, I am not sure if it was the best choice to play the main character himself. But he did so in the first film he directed, so he did the same here too of course. Still, especially the hair was not perfect and maybe he was also a bit too old at that point already. I mean he sure always played a bit of heartthrob characters during his long career, especially early on, but the bright hair and blue eyes (unusual for Italians) felt so different compared to the Lucky Luke in the books. Maybe he at least should have changed his hair color. Okay, what else is there to say. Story-wise, we got a surprisingly long introduction away from Hill about the founding of Daisytown where this film is set and we see the couple responsible for this special act. And then we are in the now when the place is still thriving, but crime has turned into a problem too, especially when we find out what happened to the last sheriff. Not a thankful job apparently when it is enough for Hill's character to be appointed by a female saying he is the one who should do it and he says okay and that is it. By the way, of course they did not get in the faster than his shadow reference here that is the easies thing to remember about LL from the books. Even I still know that, but technically not possible to put into effect. At least not in the early 1990s. By the way, I wonder if we will soon get a new Lucky Luke film. High time. It's been a long time since this one here and not too many know about it at all because, even if the language is English, this was mostly an Italian production. Okay, what else is there to say? I already mentioned the lady appointing Luke for sheriff and this shows you that there is also again an implied love story here, no surprise with Hill's heartthrob status, but again nothing specific or explicit. Basically just the way it is also in Hill's collaborations with Spencer. As for the Dalton, they try to cause a lot of trouble here and as they know they maybe cannot kill the new sheriff on their own, they try to turn the townsfolk and the Indians too against him, but Lucky Luke is of course to skilled, too competent, too much of a people person and also on too good terms with an Indian chief for this despicable plan to ever come into effect. Finally, one mention of the horse: Jolly Jumper. He is the one narrating the story and that is a nice twist when we find out. Really early on though. But good enough. Also I guess the "lucky" in the title character's name also comes from Jumper's perception here because he deems his owner quite a fool. If he really is and just gets lucky, we will never know. But at least he is a good shooter. That much is safe. Okay, that shall be enough now I suppose. I liked this film overall, but I am not really too enthusiastic about it. It could have done with a better story and also somehow I would have preferred the Daltons to be depicted differently. It seems they were never really sure if they should depict them as fools or as actually dangerous criminals and the middle way was not necessarily a success here with the outcome. Also a bit sad that, although this film is still not even 30 years old, most of the actors are dead already, also the one who provided Jolly with a voice here. His talking almost felt like the banter we usually get from Spencer (i.e. Spencer's character) next to Hill. Only that Hill has no chance to stand up to what his horse is saying this time obviously because only we hear. But there was some solid animal training in here too I would say because Jumper had many scenes really and the horse definitely deserves to be credited too. For example, he had to act (almost) dead on one occasion. This is it then. If you like Hill and/or western movies, then you can check this one out. Being a Lucky Luke fan only is probably not enough and you won't like it too much. Now actually I wonder if Jumper also talked to the readers in the books. I genuinely don't remember if he did or if this was just a creative inclusion for this rather short film here. One more reason for me to check out the base material. Until then, I give the 1991 version of Lucky Luke a thumbs-up. Positively recommended. Also more animals in here. Snakes, cows... And how Luke in the end rode into the sunset was a pretty nice shot too. A bit of a pity Hill did not direct more. For a filmmaker with only one movie he was really decent. I assume he did learn a lot from all the directors of those movies that he starred in over the years. Okay, that is really it now. Bye and have a good 2021.