Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nevada Smith and the Trifecta of Revenge... of Doom

I believe it was Danny Aiello in Dinner Rush who once said that revenge is a dish best served cold. We also learned that employees should also wash their hands after making out, but this isn't Europe, and we don't have those signs. Anyway, here's another Western with another revenge story. It starts out innocently enough, much in the same way that In Cold Blood did... until things got a little bit ugly, as with the rest of In Cold Blood. Steve McQueen's horse gets spooked, and his parents get killed, in that order. Soon, Max Sand is on the road to revenge, and on the way to getting his catchier alias.
It's basically a revenge movie in three Acts: one for each bad guy. It's also apparently a prequel, so you can probably guess, as with Temple of Doom, that the character's going to survive his ordeal, but not without a few bumps and bruises along the way. Each Act involves Max Sand taking an internship of sorts: first, with gun salesman Jonas Cord who acts as a Western Miyagi, training the impudent young Larusso/Sand for his combat to come; second, well... I hate to spoil it, but it's similar to the plot of this one; and third, a near conversion on the road to Damascus, as a priest nurses him back to health after some horse-drawn water skiing. There's a couple dames along the way, except for the third act. If nothing else, the third act offers an interesting mental game of cat and mouse, where the bad guy deliberately and blatantly tries to get McQueen's goat. The usual approach: demean his race, and show him some of Sand's familial keepsakes that he kept from that initial horrible incident... kinda creepy, even for a bad guy! His associates sorta think so. Perhaps that explains the lack of loyalty... oh, but there I go again. The film seems a tad overlong at about 128 minutes, but I was with it until things fell apart during the Third Act. Why didn't Tom Fitch just kill Steve McQueen sooner? Why not that night in his sleep when he infiltrated Fitch's Large Proboscis Gang? I guess because it comes down to heroism. Either heroism or procrastination. Waiting til the big finish. Hard to say if the final bad guy got his due the way he should have, as did Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill Vol. 2. All in all, a fine and dandy Western with some good locations, especially the Louisiana ones.

Good Karl Malden double bill with: One-Eyed Jacks

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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