Django and Sartana are Coming… It’s the End [Arrivano Django e Sartana… è la fine] (1970)
AKA Django and Sartana… Showdown in the West, Final Conflict… Django Against Sartana, Sartana If Your Left Arm Offends, Cut It Off
Starring Hunt Powers, Gordon Mitchell, Victoriano Gazzara, Simone Blondell, Dennis Colt, Celso Faria
Directed By Demofilo Fidani
A beautiful woman has been kidnapped by outlaws, are you a bad enough dude to rescue the beautiful woman?
So sums up the gripping plot you will find in Demofilo Fidani’s ultra-low budget Django and Sartana are Coming… It’s the End. Yes, I’ve seen 8-bit NES games with more intricate storylines than the one you will find here. Make no bones about it, this is welfare Django. This is the kind of Django you go out and spend your booklet of food stamps on because Franco Nero and Anthony Steffen Django are way above your price range. This is government-issued Django… loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and bad for your heart. But god dammit, this is all the Django we have for you today, so let’s make the best of it, eh?
Click the play button to listen to the Django and Sartana are Coming… It’s the End theme while you read!
Monetary constraints and Fidani’s fondness for single-takes are pretty evident right off the bat as our hero slides off of his horse, pulls hard on the reigns and tries to goad his very uncooperative steed into following him on foot. It takes a few pretty stern tugs, but the horse eventually follows. But now wait. Django soon fumbles around and drops his canteen in the grass. This is definitely not Corbucci’s vision of a badass coffin-dragging Django we are dealing with here… Fidani’s Django can’t even hold onto his own shit, let alone tug a casket behind him.
This time he is joined by that other iconic Italian outlaw, Sartana. For those not hip to the spaghettis, Sartana is basically Django with magic powers, kind of like Django the Bastard’s version of Django. But whereas Django is usually killing outlaws for money or out of revenge, Sartana is doing it because “it’s the right thing to do”. Both characters were ripped off and milked to death by the Italian film industry, Sartana only less so. With all of that said, this film pretty much ignores every single trait of both characters and chooses instead to do its own thing. Think of this film as the slightly classier, spaghetti equivalent to The Clones of Bruce Lee and you’ll kind of get the idea of what we’re dealing with here.
Django is kind of an asshole and a bit of a womanizer this time around, not to mention a little aloof. I don’t know if this was Fidani’s attempt to make the holier-than-thou Sartana appear even more noble in this outing, but I have to say, Sartana definitely comes off as the more capable (and likable) of the two. When Django gets cornered in a saloon ambush, three pretty rough looking guys mop the floor with him with relative ease. He later escapes, not due to his own cunning, but because one of his lady friends cuts him free. Sartana on the other hand gets ambushed in a barn, kicks the shit out of his ambushers, and then proceeds to gun down a town full of heavies. Who would you want on your side?
Both of them are on the trail of Crazy Kelly and his gang of inept outlaws who have kidnapped a woman and are holding her for ransom. Those expecting craziness from Crazy Kelly will not be disappointed. He’s not simply crazy, he’s KRAZY. Krazy as in mildly schizophrenic. Krazy as in mentally retarded. Krazy as in completely batshit insane.
Yeah, this man is definitely touched. When he’s not playing poker with his own reflection in a mirror, he’s looking through make-believe coffee cup binoculars or dual wielding rifles as he lies barefoot on his bed shooting at imaginary gunfighters. When confronted with the question of how a man so mentally stunted and incompetent could come to control his own gang of outlaws, one only needs to look back a few years ago and remember our previous president. Suddenly it makes complete sense.
Although Django and Sartana work independently of each other for most of the film, they do tend to show up at convenient times when the other needs to be bailed out. Those expecting witty banter and double fisted action ala 48 hrs. or Tango and Cash might be a little disappointed, but they do have a fun little moment together towards the end of the film as they divvy up dead bodies between each other for bounty money.
With a film like this, you have to take it for what it is. Comparing it to a Saturday matinee B-serial might be giving it slightly more credit than it deserves. It’s more like a mid-season episode of Thundercats. But on that level it’s pretty entertaining. There’s definitely plenty of cheese to love here. From the horribly awful fight sequences which look like cobbled-together home movies from my 4 year old’s taekwondo class to the two rubber cacti that the crew used over and over for nearly every exterior shot (they are in the film so often they practically qualify as supporting actors). If Corbucci’s original is the Rolls Royce, then Django and Sartana are Coming is definitely the Plymouth Duster of our film festival… it ain’t pretty, but it’ll get you where you’re going.