Blood Money (1975)

Blood Money [龍虎走天涯, Là dove non batte il sole] (1975)
AKA The Stranger and the Gunfighter, La brute, Le Colt et le Karaté

Starring Lee Van Cleef, Lo Lieh, Patty Shepard, Femi Benussi, Karen Yip Leng-Chi, Julián Ugarte, Erika Blanc, Wang Hsieh, Chan Shen, Cheng Miu

Directed by Antonio Margheriti

Expectations: High. I love Spaghetti Westerns and Kung Fu! This sould be a slam dunk, right?


On paper, Blood Money is the kind of movie I should love. A Spaghetti Western starring Lee Van Cleef, co-produced by Shaw Brothers and co-starring Lo Lieh. When I first heard about this movie a few years back, I imagined it as something similar to My Name is Shanghai Joe, only better since it had a great cast and the power of the Shaw Studio’s martial arts behind it. But man… that honestly couldn’t be further from the truth. Blood Money isn’t a horrible movie, but it’s definitely not taking full advantage of all the greatness at its disposal.

Dakota (Lee Van Cleef) comes to town with one thing on his mind: cracking the safe of Wang, a man said to have his fortune stored within. Dakota gets right to work, finding a sequence of locked doors within, each containing a picture of a prostitute who works for Wang. The safe’s final door requires some dynamite, and the blast not only opens the door but mistakenly kills Wang. Dakota retrieves the contents (another photo… and a fortune cookie), but he is arrested before he can get away. Word of Wang’s death reaches China, so Wang’s nephew Wang Ho Chien (Lo Lieh) is sent to investigate and find the missing fortune. His first stop is to question Dakota in jail, but this is just the beginning of the hunt for Wang’s treasure!

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Shoot, Gringo… Shoot! (1968)

shootgringoshoot_1Shoot, Gringo… Shoot! [Spara, Gringo, spara] (1968)
AKA The Longest Hunt, Rainbow, Tire Django, tire (France)

Starring Brian Kelly, Keenan Wynn, Erika Blanc, Folco Lulli, Fabrizio Moroni, Linda Sini, Rik Battaglia, Giovanni Pallavicino, Luigi Bonos, Furio Meniconi, Robert Beaumont, Lina Franchi

Directed by Bruno Corbucci

Expectations: Low. You never know what you’re getting with these.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Shoot, Gringo… Shoot! was directed by Bruno Corbucci, younger brother of famed spaghetti western director Sergio Corbucci who was responsible for such classics as Django, The Great Silence and Navajo Joe. But within the western genre, the younger Corbucci only made one spaghetti western comedy, The Three Musketeers of the West, and one straight western. Unfortunately, Shoot, Gringo… Shoot! is definitely not up to the same class of film as his brother’s legacy. That’s OK, though, as it’s unfair to expect brothers to make films of a similar caliber, or even of a similar style. For what it is — a second-tier spaghetti western — Shoot, Gringo… Shoot! is one of the better ones I’ve seen and it remains quite entertaining throughout.

Shoot, Gringo… Shoot! is about Stark, a lone badass who begins the film rotting away in a basement jail cell. He quickly escapes and seeks revenge on some guy for some reason, which leads him to killing a few guards and then getting himself recaptured. These men take him to their leader, who initially wants to hang him for his transgressions, but then decides to strike up a deal instead. If Stark can bring back the leader’s son, who’s absconded with a band of outlaws, then they will let him go free. Stark agrees with nothing to lose, and the game is afoot.

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