Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Death Rides A Horse

Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy met international acclaim and profit when first released in the late 1960's. Nobody could have expected that a series of spaghetti westerns, a genre usually considered trashy, would meet such praise and admiration. Because of the huge success of this trilogy, many small-time Italian filmmakers went and made their own spaghetti westerns, so that they may pick up a profit from the popularity of the trilogy. Many of these films, however, would either be trashy or derivative of Sergio Leone's original trilogy. Death Rides A Horse, featuring one of the leading actors from Leone's trilogy, proves to encompass both of the aforementioned qualities.

In the film, we follow the vengeful and spiteful Bill Meceita. Fifteen years ago, Bill's family was murdered before his own eyes by a gang of killers, and the only thing they left behind were a pair of spurs and a broken-hearted little boy. Now a grown man and an able-bodied gunslinger, Bill sets out out for revenge against the men who killed his family. Along the way, though, Bill encounter the mysterious Ryan, a gunslinger who's on his own quest for vengeance.

As with most later spaghetti westerns, don't expect too much in terms of depth or character. In fact, don't expect anything when it comes to depth in this film. This film's only purpose was to ride off of the success of Sergio Leone and, as such, the film's screenplay is merely a cheap imitation meant for financial gain. Not only that, but the film's similar to a corny soap-opera in the way that it handles its characters. Virtually every supporting character is related, in some way, to the death of Bill's family. Really...?

The visuals are, perhaps, the worst part of the film. The cinematography is only a step above the work of a teenage boy filming in his backyard, as the quality of the picture's pretty horrid. Grainy, unfocused, and poorly edited, the visuals in Death Rides A Horse are comparable to the B-pictures shown in the infamous grindhouses of the 1970's. If you're a fan of grindhouse films, I suppose, you may like the grainy texture of this film. For everyone else, however, it's just bland to look at.

If this film is redeemable in any way, it's mostly thanks to the action and Ennio Morricone's hypnotizing soundtrack. Starting with the latter, Morricone is, frankly, one of the greatest film composers to ever live. Innovative, stylish, and emotional in his music, a Morricone score is virtually guaranteed to give life to a film, no matter how good, bad, or ugly the overall product is. As for the action, the film's able to make the violence look pretty good, in an over-the-top sort of way.

Also, it should be noted that many of the elements in Death Rides A Horse should be familiar to fans of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill series. From names to musical sequences, Tarantino has cited this film several times as one of Kill Bill's major influences in terms of content and style.

Overall, Death Rides A Horse is a pretty bad film. It's got a great score and the film has some "so-bad-it's-good" moments, but the rest of the film falls completely flat. Cardboard characters, horrible visuals, and a stilted script mar this spaghetti western from ever rising above the ranks of "grindhouse".





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback