Adios, Sabata

Adios, Sabata

PLOT:

In Mexico, during the rule of the self-proclaimed Emperor of Mexico Maximillian, Mexican revolutionaries and Republican forces try to bring former Mexican President Benito Juárez back to power. The United States in neutral and is going through the pains of the American Civil War. Mexican guerrilla leader Señor Ocaño hires gunfighter Sabata to steal a wagon-load of gold from Emperor Maximillian’s Austrian and French forces. When Sabata and his friends, Escudo and Ballantine, finally get their hands on a wagon, they discover it’s full of sand rather than gold. They suspect that the gold was stolen by Austrian Colonel Skimmel. Therefore, Sabata and his partners set out to find the gold and give it to the Mexican revolutionaries

REVIEW:

I was going through stuff in my Netflix streaming queue this morning and realized two things. First, I have watched nearly all of John Wayne’s westerns, so following the next Wayne western (which will be coming before March 1st), there may be a sever drop in Wayne and/or quality. Second, a film that I literally just added less than a week ago, Adios, Sabata, will be leaving in a couple of weeks. Guess that means I better hurry up and watch!

What is this about?

A mercenary is hired by a Mexican rebel to steal a fortune in gold from the Austrian army and must pursue the thieves who have already taken the loot.

What did I like?

Gold. If there is one plot point that doesn’t ever seem to get old, it is the search for gold because, let’s face it, most people are looking for some get rich quick scheme and finding and selling gold is one of the fastest ways to do it. Hell, 2/3 of the United States exists because of people’s greed (I’m referring to the gold rush).

Flamenco dance. In film, we have scene many ways of telling someone they are about to die. Usually, it is a line of dialogue or an omen appears. Would you ever expect to see someone flamenco dancing before their friend kills you? I know I wouldn’t! I’m actually a little torn on this, because on the one hand, the dance is so distracting that it can keep your mind off the fact that you’re about to die. On the other hand, though, what if someone decides to shoot the flamenco dancer? At any rate, it was still an interesting way to execute a couple of guys with flair, class, and style.

Brynner. Yul Brynner made a name for himself here in America playing foreign royalty in period pieces such as The King and I and Anastasia. Go watch those films and you can see that this guy is no slouch in the acting department. In this role, he doesn’t really get to do much but pose, shoot, and occasionally crack a smirk. All of this is fine, as it fits the character and shows Brynner’s natural charm and charisma on screen, as well as his acting prowess.

What didn’t I like?

Austria. You know, this is set in a time that is usually portrayed almost as dire and hopeless and the Middle Ages and, when you look as the lower class people in the film, you can see why. However, when it comes to Austrians, the first thing that popped into my head was Commander McBragg’s fussy little sidekick to whom he always told his stories. Sure this guy is a crack shot with a rifle, but I didn’t really feel threatened when I looked at him, and that is a shame, because a film like this needs a capable villain, not a cartoon.

Light spaghetti. This is categorized as a spaghetti western, and yet I find myself wondering why because most, if not all, spaghetti westerns tend to be dark and gritty. Having said that, this isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it is noticeably lighter than most films in the genre, or subgenre, rather. I felt that this might have worked better with a darker tone. I know, I know that is blasphemy coming from me, but that’s just how I feel.

Accent. By this point in time, Brynner had been here in the US for at least 10-15 yrs, and yet he still has the accent. They don’t even make an attempt to cover it up! Why is this an issue? Well, this is not the first western he’s been in, and he still has that accent when he is clearly playing American guys. It is more of a nitpick for me, but I think even in Westworld, which was one of his last pictures, he has it. It is just distracting, you know?

Final verdict on Adios, Sabata? Overall, it is decent film that toes the line between good action and campy B-movie. I may have to check out the other two film in the franchise which star Van Cleef. Ironically, Cleef didn’t appear in this film because of his commitment to The Magnificent Seven Ride where he played Chris, the role that Brynner played in The Magnificent Seven. In essence, they sort of switched parts for a movie, I guess. So, do I recommend this? No, but not because it is bad, rather because it is forgettable. There are both better and worse westerns out there, but this is one that if you choose to watch, you won’t remember 5 minutes after it ends.

3 out of 5 stars

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