Comin' at Ya Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
COMIN' AT YA! (1981)
- Tony Anthony
- Gene Quintano
- Victoria Abril
- Ricardo Palacios
- Carlo Savina
- Ferdinando Baldi
A lone gunman, Hart, is giving up the lawless life of a bandit and decides to settle down and marry his sweetheart, Abilene. But on their wedding day, two brothers, Pike and Polk, crash the party, shooting Hart and kidnapping Abilene. Hart recovers and goes on the vengeance trail to recover his wife, free the numerous female captives held by the brother's band, and finally, exact revenge upon the brothers.
By the 70's, spaghetti westerns were seldom seen or taken seriously. After 1977, even the Twilight holdouts were done for. As a new decade formed, the audiences preferred action cop films and horror. The thought of a western, especially a Spaghetti Western, no doubt brought laughter to Italian producers. But still, they were made. Comin' at Ya was one of a very few Spaghettis to have been made during the 80's. But this one, producers were fairly confident about. Tony Anthony came up with the idea to shoot the film in the 3-D process which had not been used for at least 20 years.
This is the film's main attraction. You do not watch this film for an engaging plot or action, you watch this film to feel right in the action. To see objects hurled right into you and most importantly, to be entertained. The plot is very slim and is not that engaging. But the film, for what it is, I find very engaging and entrancing. The film would defintely be a lot worse without the 3-D effects. But the film stays true to it's 60's roots and never loses the Spaghetti feel. What I am trying to say is, the 3-D does not totally overtake the film. It has a strong sense of style and atmosphere beyond the 3-D.
The film has a very distinct feel to it that I cannot identify with anything else. It is set mostly in ghost towns. This, coupled with the sparce musical score, create a baren, empty, and vast atmosphere that could easily be read as an unintentional allegory on the state of the Spaghetti Western genre. Dead, empty, lifeless. But the ghost town sets are not just used as a backdrop for action or just some other place in the west. Baldi's skillful direction lingers around these ghost towns and he makes them very apparent and makes these sets into more than just a backdrop. He lingers on Anthony slowly and suspiciously riding into this windblown town. Riding around, inspecting the layout and such. It is a highly visual scene that owes a great amount to Leone. Only a little different.
But Baldi is no Leone and for all the wonderful scenes Baldi shoots, several are ineptly filmed and unnecessary. Scenes such as the women being attacked by a flock of bats is one example where the scenes are only added to showcase the 3-D affect. Also, Polk is almost eaten alive by rats. These are two scenes which are only in the film to showcase 3-D. The 3-D itself is pretty hit or miss. Whenever they try to exploit 3-D with objects shoved in our face, the 3-D is at its worst with two images. One red, one blue. But many, possibly most of the scenes where they do not exploit the affect, are the scenes where the 3-D is at its best. But it does get tiresome to watch this movie. The red and blue glasses and 3-D do wear on your eyes and when viewing this film, be sure to take a break about every ten or so minutes. You will see red and blue for a while afterwards.
Ferdinando Baldi's direction is very good. His film manages to create atmosphere that somehow, manages to escape the clutches of the 3-D process. Very desolate and melancholy. He directs almost every scene with skill and style. He keeps the pace fast and whenever it slows down, there is always 3-D. Beyond the first ghost town scene, Baldi's direction bears an uncanny resemblance to Leone. One of the last scenes of the film is strikingly similar to the intro of Once Upon a Time in the West. The villain and his gang wait in a ghost town for the arrival of Hart. They pass the time doing everyday things. Fidgeting, yo-yoing, etc. The purpose of the scene is actually not really to imitate Leone though. It is far more juvenile for a Leone scene. It's purpose is to showcase the film's 3-D. Sort of a climax for the 3-D.
The acting is ok for the most part. Anthony is doing his usual Anthony thing and does an admirable job. He is far more macho in this film but still gets beaten and such. He is brave and not as sneaky as his previous character. Gene Quintano was co-writer with Anthony and Lloyd Battista. He plays main villain Pike. He does an ok job. His character starts off as a bad guy but by the end, he is an unprejudiced killer who is unreasonable and possessed with hate. Making him twice as bad. On that level, Quintano's performance is very good but his performance in the beginning suffers from his lack of acting ability. At least in the beginnng. He doesn't show any meanness. He doesn't show that much bad except kidnapping women. He is not meant to be half good in the first half but the script doesn't give his character much to develop with at first. He is developed by act two which is interesting as this may sound similar to Face to Face or Taste of Vengeance. But he is never good. He just gets badder. Spanish actress Victoria Abril is the film's major failing. Although her performance is not necessarily bad, the actress dubbing her stuggles to act and completely ruins her performance. The occasional cheesy dialogue doesn't help much either. Who really steals the show is Spaniard, Ricardo Palacious. Palacious had been a genre regular. He spoke very good English which can be heard in several Spaghettis or imitators more like it. To my knowledge, he had never been given a major role. Here, he plays villain number two, Polk. He is fat, ugly, violent, stupid, and is totally lacking in any redeemable features. He is the perfect villain.
The music is not a very important factor in the film. Several scenes are done without music which, with the minimal dialogue, creates an atmosphere somewhat similar to Anthony's Stranger in Town. The score features a good use of melancholic harmonica. Some tunes only use the harmonica and no other instrument. Some scenes employ a female vocalist who "ooh's" a few lines. It creates a very entrancing feel when the scenes are filmed in slow motion. But the score is mostly used for the background and is not meant to be a masterpiece.
A good Spaghetti Western that's not to be taken seriously or literally. It features many inaccuracies and can be very cheesy but enjoy it for what it is and you will find yourself enjoying the film. Remember, break every 10 minutes so as not to strain your eyes. But don't be afraid of the objects that appear to be Comin' at Ya!