Mary Poppins Returns
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The year 1977 saw some of the very last SW being released in Italy, among those there was Mannaja, and it truly feels like a recap of the genre in many ways. We have a man with no name looking to avenge past scores, he wants to make some quick money too of course. Women are disposable for him, and everything takes place in a semi-deserted town full of dust. He will be betrayed, captured by the bad guys and crippled in some way to hurt his skills. Sounds familiar?
The thing is, the movie knows how to give all this a unique flavour and style. Mannaja carries around a hand-axe, the main bad guy has a dracula cape and two dogs that follow him everywhere. The score from the Angelis brothers tries to replicate a bit of the Keoma vibe, is not as effective, but once more, it's part of the personality of the film. Mannaja is played by regular poliziotteschi star Maurizio Merli. He plays the character by the book; always cold, always smiling when things are going his way, chewing his dialogue with the right ammount of conviction. Martino's direction is sharp and very cool to look at, his giallo sensibilities play a key role in giving Mannaja it's form and shape. The SW says goodbye, but it sure does it with a bang.
Kind've interesting, but nothing special. It offers nothing unique and is sort of a mesh up of other characters. I did like the wagon chase and the tomahawk killing, but it wasn't enough to keep me in the film. Maybe with a better cast it could've been something more. However, it's not the long lost spaghetti western that I was hoping it to be.
No one can peer from beneath the brim of a hat like... MANNAJA!
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