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5/10
Children of the Cornball
15 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Is very, very low budget but not quite as bad as my fellow reviewer would have it. For thirty minutes, it passes the time well enough. The acting is somewhat basic and I think the farmhands are exactly that and not actors. The suspense of the man left by his attackers in the field of corn, that is soon going to mowed down by a combine harvester, is over in the first ten minutes when the man turns up at the farm. One of his attackers is still looking for him when the harvesting begins in the field, caught up in this, he tries and fails to escape. A soon to be forgotten film but probably of more interest to people who want to view how corn harvesting was done in the old days.
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The Innocent (2013 Video)
6/10
Well, the dvd cover was good...
5 October 2018
It's not often that the child actors are better than the adults but this is one of those times. I wondered how the lead actor, playing the children's father had managed to get the role as he has all the screen presence of day old rice pudding. His monotone voice starts to grate after awhile and lack of any passion doesn't help. His IMDB trivia states at the age of ten he won the actor of the year in a class of forty adults. They must have been the worst actors in the history of the world then! But it all started to make sense when I noticed that his mother wrote the screenplay and his dad was one of the producers. Nepotism in films is still alive it seems. As to the film itself, it's the old plot of the previous occupants haunting the house until the reason for it becomes clear and is resolved. Sadly, nothing we haven't seen many, many times before and done far better. The ghosts are well done though and look quite creepy and their deaths are very gruesome. And if nothing else, they did very well on the estimated budget of only $30,000. Perhaps if they could have spent more on the story and the lead actors, it might have turned out far better than it did. Okay as a time passer but nothing more.
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Gangs of Britain (2013– )
6/10
Crime past and present
11 May 2017
The brothers Kemp look at past and present crime in various cities across the UK. The format is one brother looks at an old crime from the city and the other at more recent one. Using old pictures,film footage and some reconstructions with actors,each show the crime in detail and how it also relates to the present. Quite interesting,although,I could have done without the brothers trying to look 'hard' whilst walking round the present day locations. On the whole,well done research and the Kemps make reasonable presenters. If you like true crime,these episodes pass an enjoyable hour or so.
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4/10
Very Uneven Factual Documentary
23 December 2016
There's nothing wrong with the narration and it sticks pretty close to what did actually happen and not the myths that surround the characters featured. But it left a lot to be desired in the accompanying pictures. Too much of the same photo or photos as background to different accounts. Of course,there isn't a lot of actual photos from the real events but seeing the same pictures over and over again,did get rather annoying after a while. Also the use of footage from old western films,in particular, 'The Left-Handed Gun,When the Daltons Rode and I Shot Jesse James,' among others,is somewhat irritating too. Why use the footage to illustrate the factual accounts when the films themselves didn't stick too close to the facts? Of course,the answer is money,easier to use old film footage than make new ones recreating the events.

Thus,it gives this documentary a thrown together feel and while it's quite watchable,I'm sure there have been much better ones made.
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4/10
"I thought I saw a snake!"
16 July 2015
To which our hero replies, "You must have been looking in a mirror then," to one of the villain's henchmen. Tex Ritter is probably best know for singing the theme song to classic western 'High Noon.' But he made quite a few westerns of his own, none,sadly in the same class as the aforementioned High Noon and all of them distinctly very low-budget.I suspect that a lot of the action scenes involving indians on the rampage are stock footage from other westerns.

Just the same,Ritter is an amiable hero with his trademark soft Texas drawl which underlies a quick temper when trouble rears it's head.Here it's in the form of crooked trader wanting to stop wagon trains settling in his area.

There's action along the way,a bit of romance,a couple of songs from Tex and it all ends well in less than an hour. Nothing startling but it passed the time quite nicely on a sunny summer evening.
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Mystery Range (1947)
1/10
Mystery indeed...
15 July 2015
The mystery is why this ever got made,I've seen many low-budget films but this is a no-budget at all film. It's filmed in an old western ghost town and all the action (what there is) takes place in the street. In fact the characters even sleep out on the street. I assume the buildings were too unstable to film in or perhaps they had no lighting equipment to film indoor scenes.

It bills itself as the movie debuts of Jack Elam (actually his second film appearance) and Grace Lee Whitney, better known as Yeoman Rand from the Star Trek TV series. While Jack does his best as a simple minded cowpoke, he's fresh faced and young looking, not the usual grizzled, unshaven character we're more used to from his later appearances.

As for Grace Lee, even mentioned by IMDb as her first appearance, it isn't her at all. Instead it's another actress called Ruth Whitney, who looks and sounds nothing like Grace Lee. But according to information on the DVD back cover, even IMDb has bought into this urban myth.

And that's about the most interesting thing about this film. Running for nearly an hour, it seems a lot longer with endless talking and a couple of songs to fill the time. The plot concerns a circuit judge finding the real killer of a accused man's brother. Which is as nowhere as interesting as it might sound.

There are countless other westerns far, far better than this and unless you are desperate to see Jack Elam as a fresh faced youth, I would recommend watching something else.
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5/10
The family that slays together...
20 October 2014
Really just a poor man's 'The Devil Rejects' as the plot mimics aforementioned film,deranged murderous family are tracked down by deranged murderous avenger. This is a competent film that is let down by it's low budget origins.And as with every horror film made nowadays,everything is in place for a hoped for sequel. Though I can't see it happening in this case as the DVD has ended up in the chain of Britain's 'Poundland' discount stores.

The majority of the unknown cast do well,no Oscar winners but a level above the usual amateur hour players these films attract. The gore effects are well done and the sets are adequate. Basic story is family of misfits run a travelling circus that happens to actually kill people during the magician's act,thus setting up the vengeful pursuer of one of the victims.

The father apparently kills because he likes it and the rest of his family just help him. But they have their problems too,brother and sister sibling rivalry,the son who plays the clown longs for true love though he is disfigured,the ventriloquist brother who is in two minds with his dummy. The same as all vents in films from 'Dead of Night' to 'Magic' amongst others.

So,therefore not a bad film but I was left rather unmoved because as in the 'The Devil's Rejects' I found all the characters unpleasant and unlikeable. Bad things happen to bad people,so they say, but in this case I just didn't care one way or the other.
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The Dwelling (1993 Video)
2/10
Holy rotten movie,Batman!
7 October 2014
The only real point of interest in this bland film is the presence of Burt Ward who played Robin in the camp Batman series of the sixties. He's the manager of a block of apartments where our hero rents one. Small town farm boy who has moved to the big city (LA)to find fame and fortune,etc.Most of the film is taken up with his trials and errors as he tries to find a job,loses his wallet,runs out of money,etc. He befriends his good looking neighbour and her controlling boyfriend and starts to hear noises from the room above which is supposed to be empty. Finally after what seems an eternity,he finds out there is actually a devil worshipping cult using the flat,there are inserts during the film where they kill and do rituals but it's all random and doesn't make a great deal of sense really.

Cue our hero getting it off with the neighbour before she is abducted by the cult to be used in one of their nonsensical rituals. There is a grand finale but to be honest I'd forgotten the denouncement about half an hour after the film had finished...

Burt Ward is really the only professional actor and that's stretching it a bit too. I always think when there is a lot of topless women and full nudity all the way through a supposed horror film that the filmmakers know their product is rubbish and have to include that to keep viewers (i.e.men) interest.

This type of devil cult stuff has been so many times before and so much better too.
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5/10
48 hours to leave town!
11 June 2014
Buck Jones is elected town Marshall even though he is a wanted man elsewhere,some old cronies are also in town with intent to rob the Wells Fargo office, Buck must somehow stop them in the 48 hours he has given them and clear his name.

That basically is the plot,not that original of course but still workable, Jones is a amiable leading man who's strong voice and large stature adds character to his role of tough guy cowboy. A nasty bad guy who eventually turns on his gang adds strength to the story. But it's the leading lady role which really complements the film,a short feisty firebrand who plays the sheriff's daughter. It is her who off camera persuades Buck to become town Marshall,as her father remarks,"it's no good arguing with her." Sally is in the thick of the action,even riding off to save her man,she's already put her brand on him by this time. Actress Celica Parker does a good shift as Sally,who Jones towers over but is just putty in her hands when she puts her mind to it. As the final dialogue goes as Jones says he doesn't like plum sandwiches,she replies: "You'll eat it and like it." No screaming hostage or wallflower is this girl!

Therefore a pretty ordinary oater rises above it's humble origins to become an enjoyable time passer.
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Wendigo (1978)
1/10
Huntinn of ze moouse
14 May 2014
At this time of writing,there was only one review of this film here,now,I always like to see a few reviews to get a good balance.Therefore I thought I would add another one as the lone reviewer could be wrong in his opinion of the movie.

I have to tell you,they were not...it is an awful film.A horror film can be good,bad,silly,stupid but it should never be dull and boring.Some of the worst horror films are still watchable for their sheer badness and stupidity but dull films are just tedious. This film is one of those.Poor acting from the cast,it should come as no surprise that most of them never appeared in any other films.A muddled story which didn't make much sense,mind numbing direction,at times it seemed to be more a 'how to go camping' training video.

The only faintly entertaining part is the French Canadian guide who has taken accent lessons from Inspector Clouseau.Like the inspector,who says 'reum' for room,the guide pronounces moose as 'moouse.' But even this gets tedious after a time.

One definitely to miss and as with a ultra low budget film like this,we never actually get to see the wendigo.
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3/10
Lone Rider and friends
31 December 2013
Really just your standard oater,nothing special but nothing too awful either. Plot is the same,Glenn Strange is the villain pitting the stagecoach against the railroad to line his pockets. Cue Bob Livingston as the Lone Rider to stroll along to put things right,actually not that alone as perennial sidekick, Al St.John is on hand as Fuzzy and even more help from his other mate.

And that's it really,even at a short under an hour running time, it feels padded out,they could have ended it fifteen minutes earlier when our hero could have told the sheriff what was happening when trapped in a barn. Instead he just escapes to keep the story boiling over to the end.

As mentioned,it's okay and worth a watch if you've nothing much else to do but it's just been done before and since and much better, i.e. in any of the long running Hopalong Cassidy or Lone Ranger series.
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The Dark Knight (2011 Video)
1/10
The Dork Knight Rises
21 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Yes,thank the powers that be for 'fast-forward!' The best thing about this alleged film is the DVD cover picture,which fools you into thinking you are going to see a throwback to the old Italian post-apocalyptic holocaust type videos of the 1980's. They at least were low budget but fun,this is only low budget and no fun.

A lot of the time when not fast forwarding,I thought I might as well be watching the graphics of any new Xbox 360 game. Apart from the cgi monsters,our heroes just spend most the time running through woods,either away from the creatures or towards them. Characterization takes the form of low speaking in a gruff voice which shows that the hero is out for revenge. The Warlords death squad of female warriors don't speak at all,which is unusual for a woman...I'm joking! Though their leader breaks her silence to declare love for freedom and also one of the other men. When she's not running through the woods with the rest.

The monsters are duly found and dispensed,oh,hum and all ends well,apart for our hero who was so boring that nobody really cares. At least his days of running through the woods are over.

Did I mention there was a lot of running in this?

All in all a pitiful mess and waste of your time and if you picked this up thinking it was the recent Batman blockbuster...well,more fool you.
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The Saint: The Better Mousetrap (1966)
Season 5, Episode 9
6/10
Not so bad mousetrap
24 May 2011
One of the common reoccurring themes in the Saint stories, where he is framed for a crime he didn't commit. Here jewel thieves learn to their cost that it's not a wise move. A fairly standard episode with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting but with such a small cast,it's pretty easy to figure out who the mystery villain turns out to be. As it's set on the Riviera, there's a lot of 'azzents of ze 'Allo,Allo kind,' and with a young Ronnie Barker as a bumbling police sergeant,it does get somewhat Inspector Clouseau at times.

As a added bonus, there is the absolutely drop dead gorgeous Alexandra Stewart as Simon's confidante and love interest.
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Command 5 (1985 TV Movie)
1/10
Command 5 of all action clichés
18 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Take all the action film clichés that were in the original A-Team TV series and then double it and you have Command 5. This is an obvious pilot film for a TV series to cash in on the success of the A-Team which was running at the time. But it fails so spectacularly,it's hard to begin where but it makes the A-Team look like a masterwork on a par with any Shakespheare epic!

The story,I use the word lightly,concerns an action junkie ex-soldier who on request by the American government,forms a crime fighting unit to stem the work of criminals that the ordinary police forces cannot. So,there's a stunt driver,an explosives expert,a police psychologist(?)and a alcoholic cop,who of course all have agendas and don't go by the book,etc,etc.

In order to take on all of America's crime,they go to an assault course in the desert and shoot lots of guns,climb over walls and hop in and out of tyres on the ground. After that they are ready to take on all comers!

A battle bus turns up that is bullet proof which looks like one of those machines from Mad Max or probably more like one from those low budget Italian post nuclear holocaust films from the late 1970's. It looks suitably pathetic..

Then for no apparent reason, a known terrorist/madman and his gang of bikers free two convicted killers from a courtroom,taking them to a small town near a prison and demanding the release of two inmates. The town's inhabitants are rounded up and put in the local jail as hostages. Lots of shouting and firing of guns by Delgado,the gang leader who earlier eluded our heroes by use of some other hostages. Hostages play a big part in this...

Not to be outdone,Command 5 board their bus and go to take down the bad guys,blowing up bridges,buildings,shooting people off rooftops,riding around on their own motorbikes (did I mention they had their own bikes in the bus?) and just been generally really hard.

It all ends with the hostages freed and the villains brought to justice as the five conquering heroes stride down the main street to their next glorious adventure, which thankfully for the long suffering television viewing public never happened.

Absolutely awful in every aspect,Wings Hauser as the milk and alcohol drinking cop probably wins the scenery chewing and over-acting honours but not by much as it's a free for all in the ham it up stakes. While watching this,I did wonder if the writer and director plus the cast were maybe just been post ironic and sending the action genre up but then realised they were all just really, really bad...
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6/10
Very black museum
11 May 2011
Indeed,it's very black and incredible grim in this museum at New Scotland Yard,which houses evidence and exhibits from some of the most gruesome crimes done in England. In fact,it's quite teeth clenching time when we are told how the poor woman killed by Haigh,the acid bath murderer,was only identified from her dentures that were picked out of the sludge that was all that remained of her. Others in this series might not be quite as toe curling but come close with all the emphasis on forensic evidence.

Very much in the style of the old black and white series from the late 1950's, 'Tales of Scotland Yard,' and they even have another crime writer introducing the stories in the shape of Jonathan Goodman. Who is quite grisly in his own right with his whispery voice but nowhere near as creepy as good old Edgar Lustgarten who just seemed to salivate over all the horrible crime details in the earlier short films.

But while the Scotland Yard stories were staged by actors, here we have ex-policemen/police scientists,some involved in the cases or people who knew the victims/murderers giving their thoughts and opinions. With some short segments by actors fleshing out the rest of the tales.

It's strange that a lot of the crime experts and eye-witnesses are somewhat odd and look a bit like serial killers themselves!

I'm assuming the two boxed video sets I watched were probably all the episodes from the short series, twelve shows running for 25 minutes with two crimes examined each time.

Apart from the acid bath case, there is the very familiar Dr Crippen one and some others not as well known. A decent show and nicely entertaining for it's short running time. Just don't sit down to eat a meal before you start watching though!
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The Saint: The Spanish Cow (1965)
Season 4, Episode 8
6/10
Jewels and Fakes
9 May 2011
Back on familiar ground here,Simon is on the French Riviera,well,some stock footage and the back lot at Pinewood probably! Anyway,he comes to the rescue of Dona Luisa and her travelling companion,Consuela from two robbers after her jewels,all that is left from her dead husband,deposed as the leader of a small South American country. This forms the centre of the plot,does she give the jewels to fund her late husband's brother attempt to start a revolt to win back the throne and power or to the new regime to help poor people of her country?

This fairly simple story has enough twists and turns to make it very entertaining and as always,Simon has everything well in hand even when it looks like he doesn't! Nice counterpoint is seen in Simon's urbane charm and then his subtle insulting and threatening of the would be power dictator, words always formed a good factor of the Saint's character.
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The Saint: The Persistent Parasites (1965)
Season 4, Episode 5
4/10
The Reluctant Viewer
2 May 2011
Based on the original story,'The Reluctant Nudist,'this episode might have been helped by some nudity to just enliven the proceedings! The Saint ventures into Agatha Christie dining room murder mystery territory and it's all a bit dull really with only a couple of half hearted fist fights to add any action.

Simon is invited to an old friend's wedding along with his three ex-wives,the friend is murdered and it's up to our hero to figure out which ex-wife stood to gain from this. A fairly pedestrian plot plods along to the end as the suspects are gathered together and all is revealed. Just the identity of the killer and not any nudity sad to say as like I mentioned before,it might have made things a tad more interesting.
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1/10
Big Drag at Big Sag
11 January 2011
A pilot TV film that wasn't picked up and not surprisingly either! It's puzzling that Walter Brennan who starred in many a classic western and who produced this could make such a dull dud. Filmed mostly on a back lot with a few outdoor scenes of horse riding,it meanders all over the place,characterisation,what there is, is inconsistent and their attitudes change from scene to scene. Brennan does some voice-over narration which makes me think it was probably cut down from the original running time. But that's a relief as what's left is pretty awful,if it hadn't been just over an hour long,I would have switched off long before.

Hardly any action and when the climatic shootout does come,it's off camera and just related to us by one of the characters. At least Leif Erickson did go onto a much better western series when he starred in 'The High Chaparell.'
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Assault on the Wayne (1971 TV Movie)
7/10
Not Spock
7 October 2010
It must have been nice for Leonard Nimoy to lose the ears and not play Spock in this made for TV movie. He's the commander of a submarine with enemy agents on board,fighting both sabotage and ill health,this is a neat little suspense story which rattles along entertainingly to the end.

And it's to Nimoy's acting ability that after a while you stop thinking of him as Spock and just see him as the sub's commander.

Surrounded by other familiar faces from TV films/series, it's good ensemble work from all concerned. Just wish today's film makers could learn that brevity can be a plus and not a minus and not every film has to be over three hours!!
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5/10
A touch of Howerd
5 October 2010
Frankie Howerd takes the leading role in this standard British farce that was so common in the late fifties and doesn't do a bad job either. Usually more familiar in a supporting role,he takes centre stage here and all the action revolves around him.

The basic plot is the grass isn't always greener on the other side as Frankie finds out when his desired dream to retire to the French Rivera is a complete disaster. Returning to the UK he buys his old employment hotel and has to convince three businessmen it's worth investing in. Cue lots of rushing about farce proceedings as Frankie makes the hotel look busy with his small staff putting on numerous disguises.

Still quite amusing and watchable for it's short running time but it's the little things that kept me interested. Most of all Frankie's strange 'Eraserhead' hairstyle, Alfie Bass,the atypical Jewish performer,playing a Yorkshireman! And Ruby Murray's appalling attempt at acting, thank goodness she has a nice singing voice that's all I can say....
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Under Arrest (1983)
3/10
Bible Thumped
13 September 2010
Starts out as your standard 1930's gangster bio-pic,in the style of 'Bonnie & Clyde,' but on a vastly reduced budget. They could just about afford to have a couple of period era cars and clothing but that's about it for the small cast.

Phil Thatcher is one of a poor God fearing family who goes off the rails and ends up in reform school, then prison labour camps. Along the way he befriends fellow cons who turn up again and again at the various jails he gets sent to. So far, so average crime drama,acting strictly amateur hour. Then halfway through the short sixty minutes, he finds God and it's suddenly a religious tract! One minute it's 'Pretty Boy Floyd' and then it's 'Songs of Praise!'

It then becomes obvious this was filmed by a Christian group with the message that crime doesn't pay and salvation comes with the Lord and Jesus. Seems that Phil Thatcher is actually a real person that we see at the end when the film finishes and he's in Church preaching at some young folks.

Nothing wrong with that, although,I'm not a believer myself but I was expecting a crime drama and not some bible thumping. So, really one more for God botherers rather than gangster film fans.
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Amy Prentiss (1974–1975)
4/10
Prime Suspect
8 September 2010
'Prime Suspect' is the title of the video I found this series on, this a cut down version of the first episode, 'Baptism of Fire.'

Any film or TV show has to have believability, no matter how far fetched but this show doesn't. Jessica Walter plays Amy Prentis, the new head of a San Francisco police department,she faces chauvinism and prejudice from the mostly male detectives and the press,plus a conniving city councillor. Trouble is, she doesn't seem tough enough or commanding in the role and just seems to wander from scene to scene while the actual cops do the work. So,it doesn't work for me and while the storyline isn't too bad, it could be any episode of Streets of San Francisco, Kojak, or any other generic cop show.

William Shatner in a guest spot as a obsessed cop, steals the acting honours,even with his over the top style,which actually works in this part.

In conclusion, I'm not too surprised the series only lasted for three episodes. Better female orientated detective shows are out there with Cagney & Lacey to name but one.
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4/10
Never trust a banker...
7 September 2010
The personable Johnny Mack Brown is about the only thing that lifts this just above your average oater. His easy going Southern charm and likability keep this going to to the end and make it watchable. Very standard storyline, the sheriff is in co-hoots with the local banker (you just know a banker would be a baddie, don't you?) and it's up to Johnny and fellow undercover Marshall, Raymond Hatton to bring them to justice and free an innocent man accused of murder, in a final shootout at the saloon.

Female interest is in the form of Christine McIntyre, who has little to do except look either pretty or worried. It's all very basic and pretty forgettable but it passes an hour easily enough. But really, one for fans of the western genre only.
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4/10
Trilogy of Murder
31 August 2010
Trilogy of Murder is the title on the cheap DVD I picked up, which comprises three episodes from the series. They are episodes # 9, 11 and I think # 12 but difficult as the episode titles are in Russian on this website but in English on the DVD!

As the episodes ran about 50 minutes and this is about a 90 minute DVD, you will know that they have been heavily truncated, lots of flash forwards to the next scene and some voice-over narration to fill in the missing gaps. I can guess this might have been an interesting series to watch with the novel idea that the Russian ex-cop, Andrei Somov, helps the Los Angeles police in cases where the victims/criminals are fellow Russians. But the low budget pulls it back into the realm of docu-drama stuff like the 'FBI Files' and similar ilk.

The stories are decent enough but not really anything that hasn't been seen before in cop/detective shows and there's not a lot of original ideas apart from the Russian angle already mentioned.

I suspect that audiences with short attention spans would not have been too pleased with all the subtitles for the Russian spoken by the characters. And that probably accounts for why the show only ran twelve episodes.
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4/10
Lethargic
13 July 2010
His father's style of acting is often described as laid back and laconic but I'm afraid his son, James Mitchum's is just lethargic. With his dad's looks and sleepy eyes he does just sleepwalk through this film without any of the intense screen presence that Robert Mitchum could bring to a role.

Doesn't help that the film story is pretty dull too, the old warring cattle barons trying to take over the whole land and everything. The film plays much like an American one from an earlier era, such as 'High Noon or Duel in the Desert' and not the spaghetti western that it is. One thing about the spaghetti's that though short on plot most of the time, they did fill it out with lots of action set pieces. This one doesn't, a couple of short one on one barroom fights but mainly the opposing factions shooting at each over from one rock cliff to another.

I was tempted at times to fast forward on the DVD remote, which is always a bad sign...

Very much a standard oater and while not that bad, it just doesn't deserve much attention.
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