Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Buddy Goes West

Occhio alla penna; western comedy, Italy, 1981; D: Michele Lupo, S: Bud Spencer, Joe Bugner, Piero Trombetta, Carlo Reali, Amidou

The Wild West, 19th century. Buddy manages to save his friend, Indian Girolamo, who was arrested for stealing horses, but wants to move on without him. Buddy boards a train, but it is stopped by Girolamo, and thus he is forced to continue his journey together with him. The two end up in a small town where Buddy is mistaken for a doctor. He exposes that the local Sheriff colluded with a gang to scare off all the inhabitants from the town so that he could get a secret gold mine underneath. Buddy beats up the bad guys and is celebrated by the townspeople.

Director Michele Lupo's five final films all starred Bud Spencer, with more or less success. One of the lesser ones is "Buddy Goes West", even though the opening act at first seemed to indicate at the opposite: namely, the first 20-25 minutes are really fun, featuring several good jokes (in the opening, Buddy disguises himself as an Indian, intercepts a small caravan at a canyon and tricks them into releasing his fellow Indian Girolamo, even though his "army of Indians" at the hills that "surrounded" them were just puppets; the joke where Girolamo says they are "blood brothers", while Buddy just brushes it off claiming he only gave him blood transfusion). Unfortunately, the story seems to run out of ideas once Buddy and Girolamo enter the town, which features too many empty walks and too little pay offs. Especially misguided was the almost 10 minutes long sequence of food gluttony, as some sort of a match between Buddy and the Sheriff to compete who can eat more, which leads nowhere, whereas the ending seems abrupt and incomplete. However, Spencer still has charm as the big guy who saves the day, whereas one has to admit that several of his classic fist fights were surprisingly well choreographed (the scene where Buddy throws two outlaws behind him, and the whole wall collapses after them, for instance).


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