HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Alien Covenant
Puppe, Die
Song to Song
Lady Macbeth
Pecking Order
Straight Story, The
Monster Calls, A
Red Turtle, The
Fire Down Below
Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins
Cold Moon
Split
Pirates, The
Life is Sweet
Ladybird Ladybird
Mephisto Waltz, The
Raining Stones
Black Widow
Villainess, The
Burroughs
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Suntan
Heal the Living
Riff-Raff
Midwife, The
Mirage
Lady Bloodfight
Property is No Longer a Theft
Dick Spanner, P.I.
Cooley High
   
 
Newest Articles
Let's Get Harry: Repo Man and Paris, Texas
Shut Up, Crime! The Punisher at the Movies
Thunderbollocks: The Golden Age of Bond Rip-Offs
Creatively Speaking: James Scott's Art Films on DVD
Computer Love: WarGames vs Electric Dreams
Dream Big: Elm Street vs Dreamscape
Whicker's Slicker: Whicker's World Vols 3&4 on DVD
Ladies First: Girls on Film 2 on DVD
Rock Back: 3 Cult Millennium Music Movies
Possession Obsession: Exorcist vs Amityville
   
 
  Five Man Army, The The Golden ShotBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Don Taylor, Italo Zingarelli
Stars: Peter Graves, James Daly, Bud Spencer, Nino Castelnuovo, Tetsurô Tanba, Claudio Gora, Daniela Giordano, Annabella Andreoli, Carlo Alighiero, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Marino Masé, Dan Sturkie, José Torres
Genre: Western
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the time of the Mexican Revolution, and one ne'erdowell is doing his best not to get involved, even exploiting the situation. He is Luis Dominguez (Nino Castelnuovo) and is currently using subterfuge to join a work party to avoid the government troops, knocking one man out for his permit and improvising with a clove of garlic to divert the attention of the soldier stamping the slips. But as he goes to jump on the truck, he gets word from The Dutchman (Peter Graves) that he has a job for him and he must drop everything because there is a lot of money to gain. Soon the shadowy mastermind has gathered up four cohorts for a daring robbery...

That the Five Man Army, a Spaghetti Western from the subgenre's heyday when what seemed like thousands were being made and pretty much all finding a distributor, was recalled among its many, many peers was down to the name on the screenplay. There were two, but it was Dario Argento who went on to the internationally recognised career, though before he made his directorial debut with classic giallo The Bird with the Crystal Plumage the year after, he was making a living as a screenwriter, quite often with Westerns such as this. The most celebrated of those was another recognised classic Once Upon a Time in the West, but straight after that Argento was crafting one of those heist movies.

The heist caper was very popular in film internationally during this decade, so naturally that drifted towards the Western and usually it was either a bank being raided or a train was the target, as it was here, the benefit of that being it lent itself to an action-packed setpiece, which in this case took up a good proportion of the second half. Before that the team had to be assembled, which may look amoral when the opening titles depicted a wide selection of photographs taken at the time of the revolution, including people either about to be shot or having just been shot, which might lead you to believe there would be a political slant to the proceedings in a Bullet for the General kind of way.

You would have to wait a while to find that out, since most of the running time was spent planning and executing that heist, the first couple of acts leading up to the raid a much of a muchness, the sort of thing you could see in any number of other movies as the men banter and learn their purpose in the crime to liberate a few cases of gold from a train carriage guarded over by soldiers, not to mention the great big cannon on the back of the last part of the locomotive, also heavily manned. What many noted at the time, and continue to mark, was the Dutchman was played by Peter Graves, who was then enjoying television fame as the leader of the IMF, that was the Mission: Impossible crew, and this bore a similarity to that hit show.

In cowboy garb, of course, but the whole setting up of the scam and execution, complete with managing any unexpected hitches that may have arisen, was undoubtedly reminiscent of Graves' exploits on weekly TV, which was likely why he was cast, and also likely why, when he was best known for playing a goodie, the twist occurs at the end. He provided a dependable centre for the rest of this to orbit around, including James Daly as the explosives expert, Tetsurô Tanba as a character named Samurai who offs folks with his accurate knife-throwing, and most recognisably big Bud Spencer, just as his career in a double act with Terence Hill was taking off, appearing as the food-loving brute who takes care of the heavy lifting - literally. They make a solid ensemble alongside Castelnuovo, but it's really when the robbery gets underway that this turns into a nifty thrill ride, with such obstacles as what to do when one of the thieves falls off the train offering a neat line in tension. If not top notch, The Five Man Army was certainly worthwhile, Ennio Morricone score and all.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 633 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Bernard Cribbins
Tom Cruise
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Enoch Sneed
  Vikki Sanderson
Darren Jones
Tom Le Surf-hall
Mark Le Surf-hall
  Michael Joy
   

 

Last Updated: