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"The Man Called Noon" (1973)

Quick Reviews:

"The Fighting Fist of Shanghai Joe" (1972)
"God's Gun" (1976)
"Hard Bounty" (1995)

The Fighting Fist of Shanghai Joe (1972)-  A kung fu spaghetti Western!  This movie is interesting on a lot of levels.  It's as much an Asian martial arts spectacular as it is an American Western movie.  However, this movie was filmed in Italy.  And the entire movie views more like a modern action movie than a traditional, slow-moving Western.  This movie is action packed; just one big action sequence after another.

    A Chinese immigrant comes to America and encounters one racist cowboy after another!  Each encounter usually results in a big fight where Shanghai Joe wins.  In the beginning of the movie, Joe is very reluctant to fight, let alone kill anyone.  Throughout the movie, however, the forces of evil lean harder on our hero and he's forced to kill.  The more Joe kills, the bloodier things get. This is definitely an R-rated film.

    I think Chen Lee plays a likable and very competent hero in this film.  This is his first of only four movies!  What became of this guy?  If you know anything, please CONTACT ME.

    Carla Romanelli plays the lovely leading lady Cristina, who becomes the love interest for our hero.  First of all, it's unique to have a Chinese character be the hero in a Western.  The fact that his love interest is a Mexican girl is showing an inter-racial romance that certainly wouldn't have been seen in most cinema a decade earlier.  This is ground-breaking story material.

    Gordon Mitchell plays Burying Sam, one of the four assassins sent out for Shanghai Joe.  Mitchell is best-known for his many roles in sword-and-sandal movies of the 1960s.  He turns in a good performance in this movie, even though his role is brief.

    At the end of the movie, Shanghai Joe returns Cristina to her village.  He leaves her behind, saying that he must fight against the racist injustice running rampant through the land.  Personally, I don't see why Joe had to go.  Why couldn't he stay with Cristina?  I suppose Joe felt he had to take out the bad cowboy trash, but the ending of this movie leaves me a little unsatisfied.  I could see this being made into a series of films.  This movie did spawn one sequel, "The Return of Shanghai Joe" (1975), but that was it.

    This movie is extremely entertaining.  There might be a lot of things that butthead critics say to pick it apart, but no one can say it's boring.  Very recommended.


Chen Lee as Shanghai Joe
Carla Romanelli as Cristina
Piero Lulli as Spencer, the Crooked Lawyer
Claudio Undari as Pedro, the Cannibal [credited as Robert Hundar]
Gordon Mitchell as Burying Sam
Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as Tricky
Klaus Kinski as Scalper Jack
Katsutoshi Mikuriya as Mikuja

Director- Mario Caiano
Writers- Carlo Alberto Alfieri, Mario Caiano, Fabrizio Trifone Trecca (credited as T.F. Karter)

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Fun Facts:

God's Gun (1976)
- A spaghetti Western, filmed in Israel!  This was an Italian/Israeli co-production that just happened to feature a lot of American actors.  I was truly surprised when I first saw this film, and found it to be very good!  This is a Western movie that definitely views like a modern action movie.  It's very easy to follow with an infectious story that just pulls you in.  The plot is not at all complicated, but the performances of most of the cast, and the action, makes this an entertaining viewing experience.

    Lee Van Cleef has a dual role.  One is Father John, a preacher shot down by the gang of Sam Clayton (Jack Palance) after defending the town of Juno City.  The other is Lewis, a reformed gunslinger living in Mexico with his half-Mexican daughter, Juanita.  Van Cleef is amazingly likable as both characters.  After seeing him play so many bad guys in movies over the years, it's great to see him as an honorable hero, twice over.

    Leif Garrett is another surprise.  He was actually good as a child actor.  I never cared for Leif's music in the 70s.  I think the corporate, pop icon takeover of Leif robbed him of the credit that he DID deserve as an actor.  Leif got typecast as a "teenybopper" and it prevented him from doing a lot of great things when he got a little older.  He did a great job in this movie, and in TV shows like "Wonder Woman", and later movies like "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star".  Leif plays Johnny, the son of saloon owner Jenny (Sybil Danning) and (we later find out) Sam Clayton.  Father John practically raised Johnny like a son.  Upon seeing John's death, the shock makes Johnny lose his voice.  Newly mute, he travels to Mexico to find John's brother Lewis in order to save Juno City.  Johnny regains his voice near the end of the movie when the battle is over.  It's one thing to do dialogue well, but Leif gives great expression and communication as a mute.

    Sybil Danning is very attractive and gives a solid performance as Jenny, owner of Jenny's Saloon.  We later discover that her son Johnny is the product of a rape-induced pregnancy by bandit Sam Clayton.  Jack Palance plays a cool bad guy as Sam Clayton, leader of a ruthless gang that consists largely of his nephews.  Palance is both funny and convincingly evil.

    SPECIAL MENTION: I LOVE CHESTY!  Pnina Rosenblum, credited here as Pnina Golan, plays Chesty, the aptly-named leader of Jenny's showgirls.  She's hot, hot, HOT!  I was surprised to learn that Ms. Rosenblum is Israeli (half German, half Iraqi), because she certainly could pass for American.  Pnina is a very busty redhead beauty.  Her appeal goes beyond just looks.  Chesty is a bubbly, fun character who smartens up when Clayton's gang starts killing people in her town, and nearly rapes her and the other showgirls.  Chesty's maturity comes into full swing after she shoots a bad man dead.  Rosenblum, herself, began as an actress/model/singer and later developed as a businesswoman and politician.

    Richard Boone gave a rather unmotivated performance as the Sheriff of Juno City.  I wasn't impressed, but at least he played a good guy.  I did like Heinz Bernard as the elderly Judge Barrett and, for as little as we saw her, Zila Carni as Lewis' daughter, Juanita.  Carni didn't do much in acting.  It's a shame, because she played a likable character in this movie.

    Overall, this is an exciting Western.  It may not always have the best moments of dialogue, but the acting, story, and action will hold up for many years to come.  I recommend this movie.


Lee Van Cleef as Father John/Lewis
Jack Palance as Sam Clayton
Leif Garrett as Johnny
Sybil Danning as Jenny
Pnina Rosenblum as Chesty [credited as Pnina Golan]
Robert Lipton as Jess Clayton
Richard Boone as Sheriff
Heinz Bernard as Judge Barrett
Zila Carni as Juanita

Director- Gianfranco Parolini [credited as Frank Kramer]
Writers- John Fonseca, Gianfranco Parolini

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Hard Bounty (1995)- The story idea is good, but it's got about as much character depth as a triple-X movie.  The acting is not terrible, but it definitely isn't something where the actors had to stretch.  Dialogue is pretty simple, sometimes non-existent, but usually cheesy.  So how come I recommend it?

    It's premise is different for westerns.  A head hooker and her two hooker compatriots become gunslingers to avenge the death of her sister.  The murderer, by the way, is a ruthless gun for hire who was kicked out of the Texas Rangers.  Interesting enough, the lead hooker's boyfriend, a quick-draw bounty hunter, is also an ex-Texas Ranger and the villain's former partner.  The bounty hunter follows the trio of buxom gunslinging lovelies and helps them as they go to take out the trash.

    This is not a bad movie, but it could be done so much better.  First of all, for the type of story they're trying to do the movie is too short.  It's 90 minutes, but needs at least 2 hours to sufficiently explain things and establish a plot.  The girls spend most of the movie doing whore things, which they could have cut down, then when it came time to be avengers, they just saddled up in kinky cowgirl clothes, did their business, and the movie was over.

    Kelly Lebrock is the leading lady, and she does good, but it seems like the other three women in the show are just accessories.  Besides Kelly's character of Donnie, the woman we get to know best is her sister Rachel, and she dies!  The other two women that become Donnie's saddle tramps (pun intended) are not given much time to speak nor can we really see their personalities.  They do look good in (and out of) their outfits, though, which I think is the basic point of the whole picture, anyway.

    Matt McCoy, who plays Kanning the bounty hunter, is playing the character cool enough, but he forces the gravelly voice too much.  You can tell it sounds fakey.  Plus he almost always has a cigar in his mouth.  That's kind of tacky.  But I think the character is overall cool and he has an important function in this movie.  You can tell he was not a simple add-in for the film.

    So what can you gain from watching this movie?  Lots of shoot-em-up action and hot, bosomy women.  Fun for any age of man.  Not so ideal for women or children audiences.