Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dollar for the Dead (1998)

Director: Gene Quintano

Writer: Gene Quintano

Composer: George S. Clinton

Starring: Emilio Estevez, William Forsythe, Jordi Molla, Joaquim de Almeida, Jonathan Banks, Simon Andreu, Ed Lauter, Howie Long, Lance Kinsey, Steve Peterson

More info: IMDb

Plot: Cowboy (Estevez) is a super-quick gunman on the run from a rancher (Long) and his men out to kill him for killing his son. The gunman gets mixed up with a former Confederate soldier (Forsythe) who has knowledge of hidden gold. The only trouble is he is also pursued by Union soldiers. When they free a man (Lauter) with part of the map to the gold, they then are also pursued by Spanish soldiers. It all leads to a small Mexican town terrorized by soldiers and led a by a good priest (De Almeida) who also has knowledge of the gold.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

The bad?  It's too much style over substance without the quality to back it up.  Some Spaghetti Westerns were stylish but more than a few could back it up with a quality story, performances, score, cinematography, etc.  This one doesn't but that doesn't mean it's shit.  Really the only big issues I have with it is the excessive slow motion during the action scenes (and there are plenty for you fans of Old West gunplay), the cartoonish manner Cowboy is able to dispense of everyone who gets in his way (and there are dozens and dozens) as well as the endless amount of bullets coming from his two six shooters (again, dozens and dozens).  Yeah, that's pretty bad especially when all three happen more than a couple of times but I really dug the fight a half hour in with the operatic aria playing on the soundtrack.  The good?  The cast.  No one does a bad job but it's great seeing some of these folks in a Western again.  The story is OK if not a variation on a plot you've seen many, many times and the ending took me by surprise.  But the absolute best thing about this picture, and one that Spaghetti Western and music fans will really dig, is the score by George S. Clinton.  It's outstanding.  The themes are great and they feel like they'd fit right in with a 1960s SW.  It's instantly my favorite score of his with the Austin Powers pictures right behind it.  It sucks that the slo-mo and other nonsense bring down the picture.  It's not that bad of a film but maybe having a little bit more budget and experienced & talented folks behind the camera would've made this good enough to want to revisit.  I just might someday if they never release the soundtrack.  That would be the only thing at this point that would get me to give it another go.

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