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Guns & Guts

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    Ian Jane
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  • Guns & Guts

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    Released by: VCI Entertainment
    Released on: March 28, 2006.
    Director: Rene Cardona Jr.
    Cast: Jorge Rivero, Pedro Armindrez Jr., Rogelio Guerra, Zulma Faiad, Quintin Bulnes
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    In short? Mexican exploitation wizz kid Rene Cardona Jr. does the Wild Bunch by way of Sergio Leone and his bastard offspring, only not as well.

    Pedro Armendariz Jr (of Treasure Of The Amazon) and Rogelio Guerra are two escaped convicts who team up to take down a corrupt sherrif (Quintin Bulnes of the dreadful Karloff film, Isle Of The Snake People) who works out of Santa Fe. They travel together and along the way they manage to pick up a third party in the form of a gun for hire played by Jorge Rivero (of Lucio Fulci's Conquest) who has a taste for poon unrivalled outside of the sex industry - this guy lives to get laid and as such, he has a tendency to spend a little too much time with the whores, waxing nostalgic about their abilities and their free loving ways (well, not free in the financial sense, but you know what I mean).

    Three three amigos hit the trail and find their way to Santa Fe and along the way, Armendariz's character hires Jorge to kill the sherrif for him as he fears that once he's confronted by him, face to face, he won't have the guts to pull the trigger. Jorge agrees, but he wants double the usual amount once he finds out that the man he is to kill is an officer of the law. When they finally arrive at their destination, Jorge puts into motion a strange plan to get into the sherrif's inner circle and win his confidence, but it's a plan that Armendariz and Guerra don't particuarly like. Who will stab who in the back? Will the three guys kill the sherrif or each other? Who will live and who will die? Will Jorge realize his dream of marrying his favorite hooker or go down Bon Jovi style, in a blaze of glory?

    This one moves pretty slowly until the last twenty minutes or so but along the way we are treated to some surprising female nudity (full frontal even!) and an amazing, agonizing death scene in which Jorge shoots some punk in the neck resulting in a slow motion squib fest wherein blood squirts out from this guys neck for about a minute and you can't help but think of the shoot out from Thriller when it happens. A few fist fights and some squabbles here and there keep things from getting boring, but the first two thirds of the film are hardly a model of cinematic thrills. Once we get to the ending, however, all gloves are off and Cardona blatantly rips off Peckinpah's masterpiece to surprisingly good effect. You want gattling guns? You've got'em and while it's not quite the same without Pike and Bishop growling at their foes, the grand finale definitely delivers the goods and makes up for the slow start that hinders the film a little more than it probably should.

    While Guns & Guts isn't really a remarkable Spaghetti Western/Peckinpah knock off, it is worth seeing for those who enjoy digging up the oddities that sixties and seventies cult westerns offer. It's slow, but there's naked ladies and some gore so that will ensure that it at least appeals to a few exploitaion buffs. Some tighter editing and more gun-play could have resulted in a better movie but what we have here isn't half bad, it's just not great.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The anamorphic 1.85.1 widescreen transfer isn't anything to write home about but it's watchable despite some moderate print damage in a few scenes, a few odd digital/pixel effects, and heavy grain throughout. Some mild compression artifacts are also present but color reproduction isn't too bad and it's nice to see the film in widescreen, even if the presentation leaves more than a little to be desired - to that effect, the opening credits are definitely over matted on the left and right hand side of the image, leading one to speculate if 1.85.1 is actually the original aspect ratio of the film or not. A few other framing discrepencies hint that maybe this should have been 2.35.1 instead…

    The Dolby Digital Mono track for the film is dubbed into English. There's constant hiss on the track and while you won't have any problems following the dialogue as it's fairly clear, the hiss does prove to be not so much distracting as just annoying. Sound effects and background music sound decent enough.

    VCI has supplied biographies for a few of the stars of the film, as well as trailers for Guns & Guts, Cyclone, Treasure Of The Amazon, Island Of Lost Souls and The Bermuda Triangle.

    The Final Word:

    A few trashy touches definitely make this one worth a look for Spaghetti Western die-hards or Coronda completists, but there's not enough here to make Guns & Guts a 'mass appeal' release. VCI's disc, while not perfect, is at least acceptable and the movie makes for an entertaining time killer.
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