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Now this is more like it! A primo western directed with great gusto by the venerable Sergio Corbucci with a magnificent cast including: Franco Nero, Tony Musante and Jack Palance. The film’s great strengths lay not in a convoluted plot but in executing rigorous action sequences, a wonderfully exhilarating score by Morricone and a plethora of full blooded, eccentric characterisations. Franco Nero cuts a remarkably arrogant swathe as Sergei Kowalksi, a marvellously coiffure’d, amoral gun for hire who spends most of the film killing folk with unerring accuracy, all the while drawling out laconic put downs AND effortlessly maintaining a fabulously luxurious mane of immaculate hair! Nero appears to be having a ball with this roguish character and that good humour sears through the celluloid. Jack Palance is one of cinema’s most singular performers and here he finds himself resplendent in dark, octogenarian curls playing yet another granite-hearted henchmen with consummate élan...(it must be said that whenever I saw him in his grannie syrup meting out the old ultraviolence I almost pissed myself laughing! A more incongruous villain would be hard to find) and the likable Tony Musante excels as the flawed, rambunctious and opportunistic revolutionary whose political and military prowess is in direct opposition to his rough house charm. ‘il mercenario’ is everything one could want from a spaghetti western, and a whole lot more; this is gangbusters entertainment from start to finish, and should be immensely appealing even to those outside the cloistered, fan boy world of the Italian Western. Absolute class!


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