Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Burt Reynolds Week: 100 Rifles

Back again for more of Burt Reynolds week and I apologize for the delay.  I was busily assisting my folks in getting my mom back to more comfortable surroundings and last night’s thunderstorm said stay away from the computer.   
I thought this time around we would journey back to 1969. A western based on the 1966 novel The Californio by Robert MacLeond was getting a screenplay treatment by writer/director Tom Gries (Hell’s Horizon, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Rifleman and The Rat Patrol) and writer Clair Huffaker (Lawman, Colt .45, The Comacheros, Posse from Hell and The Second Time Around) cooked up the wild western tale of a revolution in Mexico and our boy Burt is smack dab in the middle of it all.  So saddle them horses, ride till dark and don’t shoot unless shot upon.  This is 100 Rifles.

Well clearly I will blend into this town.

You big headed spoiler! You are such a dummy!

The year is 1912, the place Mexico as the tyrannical General Verdugo (Fernando Lamas of The Merry Widow, The Lost World, Magic Fountain, The Violent Ones, The Lonely Profession and The Cheap Detective) puts a virtual stranglehold over the land, exploiting the Yaqui Indians into slave labor and has anyone and everyone shot who disagrees with his policy.  Think G.W. only with bigger cojones.   Joe Herrera (Burt Reynolds of Sharkey’s Machine, Stick, Heat, Malone, Switching Channels and Evening Shade) a half-breed Indian (Sheesh am I in Gunsmoke again?) of the Yaqui tribe sneaks off to Arizona and steals 6,000 buckaroos to buy rifles for his people.   Their plan is a bloody siege and storm against Verdugo’s men and defenses. 

I'm sorry but you are too big for marachi. 

Lawman Lyedecker (NFL fullback of the Cleveland Browns Jim Brown of The Dirty Dozen, Riot, Black Gunn, The Slams, Three the Hard Way, Take a Hard Ride and Mars Attacks) hops a train down to Mexico to find this bank robbing little blaggard and toss his hairy hinder in a cage for the rest of his natural days.    The two men get damn near pinched by Verdugo’s men and they flee for the hills when they are found by gorgeous revolutionary Sarita (Raquel Welch of Fantastic Voyage, One Million Years B.C., Fathom, Bandolero!, The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeer: Milady’s Revenge and Right to Die) led into the hills for safety.  The fellas trade snotty comments, ethnic slurs and fists as well until Lyedecker agrees to take command of the Yaqui tribe for an assault on the general.

Now I have a few bones about this movie, and seeing Raquel’s shower scene was NOT one of them. This is in all intents purpose an action movie and yet I get the feeling Tom Gries had little experience in such matters.  Apparently his idea of zooming up on Raquel or Jim firing then cut scene to staggering soldier was the end all.  Half of the time these actors avoided physics in that they fell forward when they should have dropped to the side or on their back.  Also there were so many dynamics with rough and tough thief, iron clad lawman and then sexy revolutionary I was trying to figure out whose story I should be following. 

Alright Palmer, where's my alimony??!!

The whole love story between Lyedecker and Sarita felt a bit sudden but hey I am not writing the bloody thing.  It was a bit confusing but this is very common when trying to translate a 500 page book into a script not even half that long. 

It felt like the film wanted to tell the entire lands their tale but they ran out of time.  Still all in all a fairly enjoyable flick and quite a crack up to see Reynolds sock it out with Jim Brown.