19
Apr
14

The Big Gundown, Safe

The Big Gundown

“OK, Eastwood, this time I’m the star.”

Lee Van Cleef stars in this 1966 spaghetti western written and directed by Sergio Sollina. This is one of the more popular spaghetti westerns outside of the films made by Sergio Leone. Van Cleef plays a weird character, Corbett, who is a U.S. Senator and the best bounty hunter in the West. Um, what? I do like the idea of a Senator who isn’t afraid to take care of things on his own, but honestly, this idea makes no sense. Why the fuck would a Senator also moonlight as a bounty hunter? Isn’t he already busy enough in Washington? And shouldn’t he be there to do the job he was elected for? A more interesting movie might have featured Van Cleef playing a bounty hunter who tracked down politicians involved in illegal activities (i.e. all of them). Anyway, Van Cleef is tasked with capturing Mexican criminal Cuchillo, played by Thomas Milian. He tracks him across the U.S. and into Mexico. The events play out as a battle of one-upmanship with each character turning the tables on the other several times. There are a couple of memorable action scenes, and a fantastic soundtrack by the legendary Ennio Morricone. Van Cleef is great as ever, with a stoic, screen-filling presence, and a likeable ruthlessness about him. Milian holds his own, taking a more comical approach, and he becomes endearing as the bad guy. Near the end of the film, a greater threat rears it head and Van Cleef and Milian must join forces. The finale was pretty cool, but ended too abruptly for my tastes. Overall, this is a very good spaghetti western. The directing isn’t quite on par with that of Leone, but then again, Leone’s skill was unmatched. If you like the genre and haven’t seen this one, it is definitely worth checking out.
Verdict: Good
Safe

“Don’t worry Soon Yi, we’ll get you back to Woody Allen.”

Safe is a 2012 film starring Jason Statham as a former cage fighter who must protect a young Chinese girl from the mafia. Not only is Statham an ex-cage fighter, but he’s also an ex-cop. He’s probably also an ex-SAS operative and ex-MI-6 and ex-James Bond considering how skilled he is and how he never loses his cool. They piled on way too much for his character to be even remotely believable. Either ex-cage fighter or ex-cop would have been enough. Not both. The story is pretty basic: a Chinese girl who happens to be a math genius is kidnapped from the mainland and brought to the U.S. to work for Big Trouble in Little China’s Lo Pan. It’s not quite clear what they have her do, but they are really evil, so that’s enough for the audience to hate the bad guys (and wasn’t this plot already used in Bruce Willis’ movie Mercury Rising?). But wait! There’s more! The girl is kidnapped by the Russian Mafia because they want to exploit her, too! And then it turns out that the Chinese Triad and Russian Mafia are both in cahoots with the NYPD! ZOMG! There’s so many levels! It’s like Inception! My head practically exploded with all the ridiculous and unnecessary twists and turns in the story. The movie is basically about Statham protecting the girl and killing limitless bad guys in the process. They move from Point A to Point B, kill Triads or Mafiosos or dirty cops, rinse and repeat. In the end, Statham has to kill some random bad guy who doesn’t even show up until like 70 minutes into the 90 minute running time. How exactly was he supposed to be the final villain? There was no payoff whatsoever for the audience. I think that the most bizarre part of this movie is how the Russian Mafia and Chinese Triad run New York City. The cops are afraid of them, and they are a menace, gunning down innocent people in broad daylight. While I’m sure these guys are not to be trifled with in real life, I find it completely absurd to think that they have the manpower and resources to hold the entirety of New York City hostage. Give me a fucking break.
Verdict: Bad
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9 Responses to “The Big Gundown, Safe”


  1. April 20, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Awww, I really enjoyed Safe. As a Statham action-flick it delivered exactly the kind of brutal nonsense I have come to expect. Pity Homefront didn’t stack up, THAT was a waste of a film. Safe wasn’t intelligent, but it was good enough to kill an hour or so.

  2. April 21, 2014 at 3:52 am

    Lol. I really enjoyed Safe too. 🙂

  3. 5 g
    April 29, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Despite being good, gundown seems to have slipped past the radar of most until the blu ray came along. I guess
    only can cleef fans know of it.

    Despite the review, safe appears to be a like it or hate it film, according to wiki.

    • April 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Gundown was really good. I only learned of it when the title popped up on a blu ray review site. After that, I checked it out and found it to be very good, using spaghetti western standards, of course.

  4. 7 Marlene buchhalter
    October 25, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Great LVC film. He is awesome in this; supporting cast good also. Lee’s acting has always been underrated, not to mention the man is one hell of a sexy dude.


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