Andrew Kern's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Navajo Joe
Navajo Joe (1965)
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Rather mediocre, although my expectations weren't that high. It's a very simple revenge story, with a few subplots. The subplots about the prostitutes helping out and the corrupt doctor are a little interesting, but the whole train robbery/money thing wasn't.. Very little characterization for the most part.: a short conversation between Joe and the townspeople that's pro-Native American, and a story that the villain says about how he was bullied when he was young. Both are rather jammed in the story, and beyond that the dialogue mostly serves to move the simple plot along. Luckily the action is good, with some interesting cinematography and editing, although it seems to lack tension as Joe silently dispatches the bad guys with such ease most of the time. Finally, the Morricone score is easily the best part, and the music is far more epic than what's happening on screen. Overall decent, but one of the worst Spaghetti Westerns I've seen so far (out of about 13 right now).

The Grand Duel (Il Grande duello)
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Not bad at all. Sort of a mixture between "The Big Gundown" with Van Cleef seeking out a wanted criminal, and "For a Few Dollars More" with the dreamy flashbacks. The action is coherent and abundant, with Lee Van Cleef doing quite a bit in this movie. It's very Leone-esque with lots of close-ups and tight editing. The story is engaging, but is told "in medias res," in that the movie seems to start midway through the story. I found the dialogue revealing plot points to be a little confusing, and I had to look up what was going on a few times. Luckily the plot does come together at the end, although predictably. Overall it's a decent movie, although I'd put quite a few Spaghetti Westerns ahead of it. Not bad for $4 for the blu-ray or free on Amazon Prime.

I Giorni dell'ira (Blood and Grit) (Day of Anger) (Gunlaw) (Days of Wrath)
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Wow. Despite looking pretty similar to "For a Few Dollars More" and "Death Rides a Horse" at the beginning, the story is not just the usual revenge or money extortion plot. It starts out iffy, with some pretty poor dialogue at the beginning. That all changes when Van Cleef arrives and the plot (and bloodshed) begins. Plenty of good action here, although the overall style imitates Leone and succeeds only partially. That being said, I found the main characters quite interesting, and there is some genuine character development that gets interesting by the end. Unlike Leone, you might not see the ending coming.

Se sei vivo spara (Django Kill - If You Live, Shoot!)
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Bizarre and strange. While it certainly has a very weird atmospheric quality and a decent number of memorable scenes, I found it too slow to really engage me that much. It's sort of the "anti-Dollars" movie in that the protagonist doesn't want the money for a change. It's also not a revenge movie, even though the beginning makes you think that. Also features a torture scene involving an iguana. Worth a look if you're interested.

The Colossus of Rhodes
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

The Sergio Leone movie you've never seen. As a Peplum, its one of the better in the genre. Compared to "real" movies it's very average and not very memorable. Despite being directed by Leone there's only a few scenes where I recognized his style. An attempted poisoning early on at a party feels a little like a Western shootout, and there's a chase scene at night with people on horses, like Fistful of Dollars. A few other scattered moments, but that's it.

Compared to other Peplum movies this one has no magic or fantasy qualities. MST3K fans won't have much to riff on. Although there are a plethora of secret passageways, weird torture methods, and moving gears and pulleys inside the colossus to keep you giggling. There's a scene where the colossus shoots spaghetti sauce out of his head, which turns into corrosive powder, which is also used to torture people (?). Very little humor in this one besides that - for the most part it tries to be a serious historical drama film like Ben-Hur or Spartacus.

The characters are pretty thin and one-dimensional. I suppose Darios has a bit of a character arc because he learns to "take risks" by the end of the movie. However, the set design and battles in this movie are very well done. The massive colosseum fight at the end and then the final battle at the colossus with the earthquakes was the best part of the movie, although it was mindless action. Certainly not a low-budget movie. Overall, this movie feels like a made-for-TV movie: very watchable, but not very memorable. Also note that I saw the complete 143 version in Italian.