Sunday, April 5, 2015

L'uomo di Santa Cruz A.K.A. Kid Vengeance, Vendetta (1977)

An American Israeli western directed by Joseph Manduke, starring Lee Van Cleef and Leif Garrett.
A gang of outlaws attack a family. They kill the parents, but the daughter is hiding in their wagon and the son is wandering in the desert. The son returns to find his mother being raped (before being killed) and hides nearby, eluding the outlaws. Another, less skilled group of bandits try to hold up a black miner at a bank, but end up shooting one of their own team and being held up by the miner. Eventually, the paths of the miner and son cross and they team up to defeat the outlaw gang.
The late '70s was a good time for westerns. The slightly gritty video lends itself to deserts and cowboys. The plot of this film was a little more complex and there were more characters than the average cowboy revenge flick. These added complexities were clearly communicated and all of the characters were memorable. The camera-work was relatively straight forward, but done quite well. The pacing really slowed down and let you enjoy the scene without dragging. There were some creative executions performed while the kid was alone, stalking and killing outlaws. The "less skilled" outlaw gang served as comic relief and contained some entertaining characters. Overall, there is nothing wrong with an augmented cowboy revenge flick from this time period. This one even did enough things well to earn my respect. I'm rating it good. This would be one to watch.

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