HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
Toll, The
Two of Us
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Reason to Live, A Reason to Die, A Coburn, baby, burn
Year: 1972
Director: Tonino Valerii
Stars: James Coburn, Telly Savalas, Bud Spencer, José Suárez, Georgés Geret, Ugo Fangareggi, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Guy Mairesse, Benito Stefanelli, Adolfo Lastretti, Fabrizio Moresco, Angel Alvarez, Francisco Sanz, Joe Pollini
Genre: Western, Action, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: After completing Duck, You Sucker! (1971) for Sergio Leone, James Coburn stuck around Italy for his second spaghetti western directed by Leone’s protégé Tonino Valerii. Set amidst the American Civil War, A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die finds Union Colonel Pembroke (James Coburn) dishonourably discharged and branded a coward after having mysteriously surrendered Fort Holman to Confederate Major Ward (Telly Savalas) without a fight. Out for revenge, Pembroke gathers a gang of rapists, murderers and thieves, plus burly good guy Eli Sampson (Bud Spencer), supposedly intent on retrieving a cache of captured confederate gold buried at Fort Holman. But as Eli observes, no man would endure such danger, treachery and punishment just for gold.

Curiously while Telly Savalas gets to speak in his own voice, James Coburn has been distractingly dubbed. The loss of the great man’s distinctive tones is one of several missteps that mark this as a distinctly second-rate spaghetti western. On the surface this seems more ambitious than most Italian efforts from this period when the genre was in decline, as it actually opens with a flash-forward to the bloody finale and credits play over photographs from the Civil War. But what unfolds is a fairly run-of-the-mill Dirty Dozen goes West, disjointed and riddled with awkward camera set-ups and frankly cack-handed editing.

Tonino Valerii made the remarkable The Price of Power (1969) - a spaghetti western allegory about the Kennedy assassination - followed by co-directing Leone’s comedy western classic My Name is Nobody (1973), but is all at sea with this ropey scenario. The script concocted by three writers including western and giallo horror specialist Ernesto Gastaldi, is unusual in that it often ignores tortured hero Pembroke in favour of the array of scumbag supporting players who generally badger and abuse him. Where Clint Eastwood might crack their skulls, Coburn’s enigmatic lead endures their abuse until a plot twist reveals all but still fails to engage. Thereafter, Valerii grinds through the tedious business of infiltrating the fort, with an array of spectacular explosions and would-be tragic deaths that leave little impression since Pembroke’s gunslingers are a wholly reprehensible bunch.

It’s up to Bud Spencer to inject some welcome levity. By this point a big star in Europe thanks to his Trinity westerns alongside regular sparring partner Terence Hill, Spencer relishes his bits of comic business. These include an amusing scene wherein Eli distracts nosy Confederate soldiers by proclaiming the war is over. Pretty soon the whole town starts dancing (!) while Coburn and company sneak away. Coburn even does a little soft-shoe shuffle on his way out, possibly an attempt to alleviate his boredom with a humdrum role. Bizarre non-sequitors like having Eli blow raspberries at regular intervals or the tobacco-loving confederate who shoves his pipe back in his mouth before dying, sit uneasily with elements of cynical sadism - as when Pembroke’s men machinegun surrendering soldiers. Given the talent involved this really should have been more memorable, yet like the big showdown between Coburn and Savalas proves dispiritingly banal.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4944 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: