Gli specialisti (Drop Them or I'll Shoot) (The Specialist) Reviews
Hallyday fits rather nice as the lead, sure, he's no Nero or Milian, but he manages fine. The new location adds some flavour, this time in the mountains. Pretty damn fine overall.
There are many hilarious elements of communist political satire, but not in a completely one-sided fashion. With not only mock authority figures, but a number of false revolutionaries. Most prominent is Mario Adorf as a one-armed Mexican bandit. Although as wide as a slot machine, he moves well in his bizarrely staged contest of head-butting against two-armed rivals and carries off some broad comic dialogue. All the while his pro-revolutionary scribe records the legend that he is, in at least his own mind. He's no true villain, however, and the one who does emerge is more tragic than comic.
More of Corbucci and writer/A.D. Sabatino Ciuffini's leftist commentary is put into the mouths of a ragamuffin band of child outsiders. They at first seem oddly out of place, taunting the guileless sheriff. However, their presence makes more sense late in the film, as they generally harass and mock those who they finally might wish to become. The townspeople themselves are brought low in the hysterical finish, as the undercurrents throughout come to the fore.
The lack of a central villain such as Kinski may weaken the impact, but taken in light of the political satire it makes more sense. The following year's Companeros also had great leftist elements, however, and featured Palance as a quite memorable baddie. This, and the relative weakness of Hallyday as a fresh actor make Gli specialisti less than a classic. But highly interesting in comparison with more widely available standouts, and distinct in its excellent use of the Alpine setting early on.
It is available in a variety of non-subtitled formats, and the subs created by fans are not bad at all. The reconstructed audio in at least one version switches between Italian and French in a few scenes, and the subtitles seem to gloss over some of the more pointed political jabs. But it would be great to see what Wild East or the like could do with a release.