Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die!

Oggi a me... domani a te!; western, Italy, 1968; D: Tonino Cervi, S: Brett Halsey, Bud Spencer, Tatsuya Nakadai, William Berger, Wayde Preston

After spending five years innocently in prison, Bill is released and immediately goes to his savings to gather a gang of the fastest gun drawers in the area: O'Bannion, Jeff, Greenhorn and Francis. They each get 5,000$, which will doubled if they finish his job: namely, Bill's wife, an Indian, was raped an killed by criminal Elfego, who also framed him with a prison sentence. Bill and O'Bannion are captured by Elfego's gang, but their friends manages to free them. Hiding in the forest, Bill and his accomplice stage an ambush at Elfego's gang, and ultimately manages to kill him.

In the 60s, Italian 'Spaghetti Westerns' grew like mushrooms after rain and left an imprint on the entire era, yet few directors truly managed to make something extraordinary out of that genre, such as Leone or Clucher, who delivered a first spoof of it with "Trinity". Even though it was written by Dario Argento, "Today We Kill..." is a good, yet standard example of the genre, with several typical storylines revolving around a revenge story, told in a rather too straight forward manner, though certain elements of surprise can be found in a couple of humorous moments (for instance, when Sheriff Jeff is offered 5,000 $ by protagonist Bill to immediately follow him on his task, he accepts - and releases a prison inmate from jail, giving him the Sheriff's badge (!) to run the office while he is away) and the fact that the protagonist's first helper becomes none other than Bud Spencer, here still in a serious edition. The villain is a typical example of a bad guy who is evil just so that the viewers can hate him, even when some of his actions do not make much sense (in a flashback filmed in black and white, Elfego is seen raping Bill's wife, calling her an "Indian whore", which alludes that he is racist, but since this is all we find out about him, his actions are left rather unintelligible), yet the compact story leads to a proportionally well made finale in the forest, with several gritty, brutal showdowns (such as when Spencer's character has to use a log to fight with Elfego who has a sabre).


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