I was fortunate to be managing a theater when the second wave of 3D hit theater screens. Much like the first wave that took place in the fifties these films made the decision to use the special effect in gimmicks rather than integrate the format into the story. Items were thrown at cameras, things were dropped at them and there was even an eyeball that popped out of someone's head towards that camera in Friday THE 13TH 3D. Because the effects were gimmick related and due to the bad format being used that required glasses that gave viewers headaches it soon died. Newer technology has made the format popular again but even that is beginning to wane.
The first major release during that second wave of 3D wasn't from a major studio but was actually a spaghetti western that came from Italy. COMIN' AT YA! used a tried and true story and then rounded it out with enough items aimed at viewers that many who had only heard of 3D rushed to theaters to experience it for the first time. It became an immediate hit and soon other movies followed suit only to disappear for reasons I stated earlier. But this little movie that renewed interest in the format should be included in the history of movies for that reason alone, that it brought it back to life.
Now MVD has brought the film to DVD for the first time. Not only that it's being offered in 3D as well as blu-ray for those who own 3D televisions. This makes it the first time you can see the film that way since it was released back in 1981.
The story is simple enough. The wedding of gunslinger H.H. Hart (Tony Anthony) and his bride Abilene is interrupted by Pike and Polk Thompson (Gene Quintano and Ricardo Palicios) who shoot Hart and kidnap his bride. The duo is kidnapping women to be sold into white slavery. What is interesting to note about this sequence is that it is incredibly obvious that Quentin Tarantino used this sequence when filming KILL BILL. At moments it seems shot for shot the same as the killing of the bride from that film.
The rest of the movie revolves around Hart tracking down the bad guys and trying to retrieve his wife. When Hart discovers that the brothers are taking women from all around with the intent of selling them into the brothels of Mexico, he makes it his mission to save them all. A back and forth between his taking out men, being captured, escaping and taking them on again follows until a climactic battle that takes place in a ghost town.
At only 91 minutes the first question that should be asked is is there enough of a story here to make a feature length film or is it all gimmicks? The answer is yes, the story is well thought out and lives up to the movies of the time, westerns that were slowly disappearing even from Italy. Westerns for the most part always offered up simple stories of good guys versus bad. It was a formula that worked so why tinker with it? But the amount of 3D effects in the film at times slows down what we get to see. Not only that, some of the gimmicks might leave you scratching your head as to why someone thought that was something people wanted to see. But that's because we've grown accustomed to the current wave of 3D films where the 3D is incorporated into the story itself rather than just tossed in to be called a 3D movie. The novelty has worn off and it now accentuates the story rather than propels it. Knowing that the use of it in this film makes more sense where it is used simply to show 3D.
There are several ways that are used to display the effect here, some good some head scratching as I mentioned. Among the bad are seeing things like beans of coins dropped from above towards the floor where the camera is located. Better usage comes from items like a snake hanging down from a board or arrows flying through the air towards the camera. Those were eye popping moments where audiences ducked while watching the film.
Tony Anthony does a great job here and should have become a bigger star than he was. Having made more than one spaghetti western, including several that involved the same character only known as the Stranger, he was a recognizable face. Why he left acting behind I've yet to discover. He did invent a low cost 3D projection lens that was cheaper than the conventional lenses being used at the time so perhaps he made enough off of that to retire early. If such was the case it was a loss to fans of the genre and of Anthony.
This release offers little in the form of extras but with both a regular blu-ray and 3D blu-ray included in the mix it's worth it for fans of 3D and for collectors alike. Even if you don't enjoy the format but love those old spaghetti westerns it's worth adding to your collection. The end result is a fun film that can be enjoyed either way. Now for fans we have to sit and hope that TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS comes out as well.
Comin' at Ya!
Action / Western
Comin' at Ya!
Action / Western
Tragedy strikes as two ruthless brothers kidnap a bride during her wedding. Hurt and angry, H.H. begins his quest to find the love he lost, and take vengeance upon the wicked. Comin' at Ya.
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March 01, 2016 at 07:12 PM