Gli specialisti (Drop Them or I'll Shoot) (The Specialist) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gli specialisti (Drop Them or I'll Shoot) (The Specialist) Reviews

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July 3, 2013
Sergio Corbucci follows up Il Mercenario with Le Specialiste. It is not a patch on any of his previous work but still a decent flick. No memorable score or soundtrack but overall some decent action as maverick gunslinger sets out to avenge his brothers death.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2011
Very well made flick from Corbucci, no idea why people dismiss this one. Sure, is not The Great Silence or Compaņeros, but what it is greatly surpasses other politically oriented italo-westerns. Corbucci takes a shot at almost everyone: burgoise, pseudo-revolutionaries, and even a band of hippies gets thrown in the mix. Which btw, Corbucci greatly hated them, so it's no wonder they are portrayed here as a bunch of childish thugs that get humillated on two ocassions.

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.
January 23, 2011
Solid effort from Corbucci, even if the core plot is a tad predictable. The addition of the four revolutionaries suggests some interesting possibilities, but they come over as a bit of an afterthought.
May 19, 2010
Lesser Corbucci, but highly entertaining if elements of political satire and genre deviation are taken into account. Corbucci again uses an unusual location to offset the typical Western motifs. Rather than mud or snow, this time around it is the Alps. Hallyday lacks the presence of a Franco Nero or Trintignant, however, and in retrospect it is too bad that the craggy face which he now possesses could not have been featured. Instead, we get him as a bottle blond whose mullet is featured all too prominently when he first loses his hat in a bar brawl.

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.
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