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Old March 28 2011, 04:22 AM   #283
Too Much Fun
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

I'm about halfway through "For A Few Dollars More" and I gotta say I'm shocked at how much better it is than "A Fistful of Dollars". It is superior in every conceivable way. Better acting, better characters, better story, better writing/dialogue. A very pleasant surprise after how lame its predecessor was.

This time, instead of just the Clint Eastwood character and a bunch of loud, boring, ridiculous interchangeable idiot characters, the movie has a whole cast that's strong. Lee Van Cleef's character is just as badass as Clint's, makes a formidable rival, and is an even better ally. I spent most of the first hour eagerly anticipating their beautifully built up showdown, and when it came, it did not disappoint. Their little intimidation fest with shooting at hats was hilarious.

On top of that, there's a great villain who is charismatic and vicious with a Tarantinoesque speech about the history of a cabinet. The story about two bounty hunters going after the same gang of bank robbers is infinitely more interesting than Eastwood playing two moron gangs against each other. With those two gangs, there was no suspense, because they weren't intimidating. On the other hand, bank robber leader Indio is marvelously intimidating thanks to an early scene where he proves his cruelty and quick draw talent with a family man, wife, and child.

This may be the greatest western I've ever seen. I'll have to wait till I'm done to decide which one I like more between it and the original "True Grit", but it'll be a close call. This movie reminds me of many other excellent flicks like "Heat", "The Departed"/"Infernal Affairs", and of course the "Kill Bill" movies with its lawmen and criminals, heists, undercover turncoats, and infectiously catchy whistle and chant-heavy score. Unlike "A Fistful of Dollars", I can see how it's not just influential, but also great in its own right.

This is the kind of movie I always hope for every time I sit down to watch a western and am more often than not disappointed (i.e. "The Searchers", "The Wild Bunch"). I couldn't get into the "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" last time I tried to watch it, but this movie makes me want to give it another chance. Maybe I'll like it more now that I've seen the other movies in the trilogy before it. The dubbing is also less annoying this time. Even if everyone is dubbed, Van Cleef and Eastwood just sound so much more natural because they're speaking their own language. The amount of dialog they get (and how well-written it is) makes this so much more enjoyable to listen to than "A Fistful of Dollars".
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