Adios, Sabata (Italy 1970)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/11/17
Director: Gianfranco Parolini
Cast: Yul Brynner, Dean Reed, Ignazio Spalla

"Why do you join up with scum?"
"They're more my type."

Originally titled "Indio Black", the film was renamed "Adios, Sabata" for the international market after the success of the original "Sabata" (1969) film. As a result, the character played by Yul Brynner has nothing to do with Lee Van Cleef's character, and they simply share the same name (much like the "Django" phenomenon). Sabata (Yul Brynner) is a highly skilled gun for hire, helping a group of Mexican revolutionaries steal a shipment of gold from a cruel Austrian tyrant named Colonel Skimmel. A con-man named Ballantine (Dean Reed) joins the gang and is constantly trying to betray them, which makes you wonder why they continue to put up with him. Sabata eventually outsmarts and outshoots everyone, for an ambiguously happy ending.

The charismatic Yul Brynner makes a dark and sexy gunslinger, but he keeps his shirt unbuttoned WAY too far for comfort. He owns his action scenes with confidence and swagger, and is fun to watch. This is Brynner's sole entry in the Spaghetti Western genre, and it's a shame he didn't do more. Ignazio Spalla is quite charming as a Mexican revolutionary fighter who inspires loyalty and respect from his fellow soldiers. Unfortunately, those soldiers aren't particularly interesting. One is a feeble-minded mute who is an expert at kicking steel balls, while another is an extremely acrobatic man who performs the "flamenco of death." Dean Reed is slimy and annoying, and his character only exists to inject chaos into the plot. It's a good looking and well made production, but the pacing can be overly sluggish and I had a hard time staying awake through a large portion of it. The story is pretty straight forward for the most part, and only enters the realm of the absurd with some of Sabata's outrageously inventive shootouts.