width=”295″ height=”400″ />Before Arnold Schwarzenegger (Red Sonja) was kicking bad guy ass in such movies as Commando (1985), True Lies (1994) and Eraser (1996), to name a few… Hell before there was Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense) fighting off terrorists in the Die Hard series, and even heck, before Danny Glover (Saw) got, ‘to old for this shit’ in the Lethal Weapon series, there was tough guy, Lee Van Cleef (Escape From New York)!
Now admittedly I haven’t seen Van Cleef in much, but in the movies that I have seen him in, in which he almost always plays a tough guy is sheer dare-i-say it? AWESOME! And with that said, for my money, he is just one of the reasons why Death Rides A Horse (1967) was such a great film!
Written by: Luciano Vincenzoni (The Rover), and Directed by: Giulio Petroni (A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof). Starring: Lee Van Cleef, John Phillip Law (The Golden Voyages Of Sinbad), Mario Brega (Halleluja For Django), Luigi Pistilli (La Lunga Sfida), Anthony Dawson (Operation Kid Brother), Jose Torres (Gold Train).
The Meceita Ranch… the place of a brutal and sadistic massacre of the staff and the majority of the Meceita family on one dark and rainy night by Walcott (Pistilli) and what was supposed to have been 4 members of his gang (it turned out to be 3 members with one of them showing up late!) Now the members that committed this mass slaughter are Paco (A man with a scar running down the length of one of his eyes. He is played by Mario Brega,) the next one is Burt Cavannaugh (He is gambler with 4 aces tattoo’d to his chest, he is played by Anthony Dawson,) and the next one after that is Pedro (A man with an earring in one ear. Pedro is played by Jose Torres.)
Now the reason that I am being overly detailed is that the only survivor of this massacre is a boy by the name of Bill Meceita (Law). Now Bill survived the massacre when the late member of Walcott’s gang comes by and pulls Bill out of the fire…
Now that was 15 years earlier, in the present day Bill has become a man who is driven to avenge the death of his family! (Bill remembers these guys for the most part as, ‘the guy with 4 aces tattoo’d on his chest’, ‘The guy with the scar’, ‘the guy with the earring’, and ‘the leader’.) As a matter of fact Bill has essentially decided that he can’t settle down and start a family of his own till he kills these men!
But Bill is not the only person that wishes to exact his own form of revenge on Walcott and his gang! You see another crime that Walcott and his gang comitted is that before Walcott and Cavanaugh and a few others from his gang decided to go, “legit”, Walcott decided to frame another member of his gang by the name of, ‘Ryan’ (Van Cleef), which ultimately sends Ryan to Prison for 15 years!
Now that Ryan has done his time and is released from Prison, Ryan decides to go and forcefully collect from his now affluent cohorts, what he is owed after being in Prison for 15 years!
Now with both Ryan and Bill gunning for Walcott and his gang, Ryan and Bill, despite both having different methods in which they want to get blood out of Walcott and his gang, will have to work together to get the revenge that they both so desperately want!
Now with that said, what I like about this movie and what I do think makes this a totally awesome B movie is a couple of things:
1. I have not seen many of the movies that John Phillip Law has done, but I gotta say that I am impressed!
2. Another thing that I liked about this movie is the story, Revenge movies are always fun!
3. This movie also was one of the movies that I believe helped influence Quentin Tarantino (From Dusk Till Dawn) in his making of the Kill Bill series, what I mean by this is that Mr. Tarantino uses the theme song from this movie, in Kill Bill as well as using the technique of super imposing a scene on to some one’s face, which is a technique that is used quite a bit in this movie!
4. The last thing that I thought I would mention is that the sound track by Ennio Morricone (Sahara) is nothing short of spectacular!