Bullet Points: Django
The Original Django has influenced more movies than I can count. The most obvious one is Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which is insanely badass from start to finish, but this original 1966 version is so awesome you’ll forget you’re watching a bunch of sweaty Italians pretend to be Americans….not racist, they were just really freakin’ sweaty. If you haven’t seen this old-school Spaghetti Western starring Franco Nero then you need to get your head examined and/or quit being a sissy and watch how a real man kicks ass in the Old West.
The Gist: A mysterious man wanders into a near-empty town dragging a coffin behind him. On his way into town he encounters a beautiful woman being beaten by a group of men. After saving the woman, the man simply known as Django, finds himself caught between the evil Major Jackson and his enemies led by the Mexican General Hugo Rodriguez. Django uses the General to fulfill his plan, but he finds that he may have bitten off more than he can chew.
The Cast: It can be hard watching a poorly dubbed movie. It would be unfair for me to say much negatively about the actors when I never got to hear them speak so I’ll keep my criticisms to their visual performances. Franco Nero has a really cool look. He pretty much embodies what a Western anti-hero looks like. The guy is short on words, fast on the draw, and morally flawed enough that we get to see him do some dirty stuff rather than always being heroic. The owner of the brothel is really the only other character I cared about. He brought so much happiness to so many people….
If only he had called it “Ole’ Painless”….
The Villain: There aren’t many good characters in this flick. It’s pretty much set up for us to root for a thief, murderer, and a bunch of hookers. Major Jackson plays the biggest asshole of the bads. He uses Mexicans for his human trapshooting when he’s bored and he and his men all wear convenient red sashes so we know who is bad. General Hugo Rodriguez isn’t a saint either, though. Neither man treats Marie like she’s worth a damn, but Hugo takes pleasure in passing her around his gang; or, at least trying to pass her around. Django denies her several times even though she can’t help but fall for those steely blue eyes of his.
The Red Sash crew led by Major Jackson, the small holes over the eyes would explain why 95% of their bullets missed their mark.
The Action: Within thirty minutes of the movie starting, Django finds himself staring down at 50 men with their guns drawn. Luckily for him, the content of his mysterious coffin turns the tide of the gunfight and he’s able to survive the showdown. I was truly surprised when he pulls out his “little friend” and it was a seriously badass when he just mows down all those red-sashed jabronies. The heist scene was basically the anti-Ocean’s Eleven as they just roll in and shoot the place up and run out with the loot. The gold is remarkably light too. The finale could have been cooler in terms of action, but the cinematic nature of it still made it pretty awesome. Django doesn’t need hands to pull the trigger son!
This is the boner-inducing scene where Django goes straight-up Terminator on some fools with that Gatling gun from earlier.
Take it Home:
• Body Count: This puppy sports a kill-count of 138 people. That is some serious killing for a Western.
• Music to my ears:The opening theme to Django is so awesome that I can’t describe it in words. It must be heard.
• QT: This is one of the films that obviously influenced Quentin Tarantino when he was planning on making a Western. He would describe Django Unchained as a “Southern”, instead.
• Old School Torture: Another scene which may have influenced QT for Reservoir Dogs is when they cut a dudes ear off and shove it into his mouth.
• Childhood fears: I thought that quicksand would have been much more of a problem when I was an adult. It seems like people always fell into that shit when I was a kid.
An absolutely gorgeous final shot of the movie.