A Fistful of Dollars was a film about a pure badass messing things up for the criminal scum. To improve on such an awesome and cool film was going to be tough. The solution? Add another badass.
Two extremely talented bounty killers end up after one target and after some discussion agree to team up and take the gang down for some serious cash. A bank robbery plot is laid out and Clint Eastwood is in the thick of it once more, teaming up with the psycho Indio for a brief spell before claiming their bounties. Things don’t go quite as expected of course and things get hectic! It’s a good story which is easy to follow and the scenes all ooze a ‘cool’ charm. It is very James Bond on the cool front (but only the cool James Bonds of course) but western, there is little to dislike. The pacing builds up tension, character details and back story at the right times, the two good guys are pretty much people worth having as an idol and the villain is one sick little man, everything just clicks.
I also love how scenes of staring can be so great. Sometimes nothing will amount to it but my heart was thumping all the way. Though I felt the film was less heart thumping than A Fistful of Dollars. I felt it had less memorable lines though there were still plentiful; ‘I generally smoke just after I eat. Why don’t you come back in about ten minutes?’ is the response to a bandit trying it on with the awesome gentleman bounty hunter Mortimer. I also felt the set pieces and tension weren’t as great though again it is hardly bad when you have Clint shooting someone by spinning round in his chair, his poncho on the hanger in enemy territory. It is exciting all the way and the two bounty hunters (or killers as they liked to be called in the film) make a good team despite the occasional fall out.
Then the climax happens. It was a really good action packed Western with ace camera work, cool scenes and quotable dialogue but the last scene blows everything else out of the water. The villain and his obsession with his music playing locket makes for a dangerous foe and the music from the locket becomes a chilling piece which links everything together. The final scene, the final stare out, the back story, the show don’t tell methods of the film, it all creates emotion, worry, excitement and exhilaration. This is one of the coolest endings to a film I’ve ever seen and it went from a great film to an incredible one in one showdown. Now if only these films weren’t letter boxed.