Saturday, March 10, 2012

God’s Gun (1975)


A boring spaghetti Western arriving so late in the genre’s dubious life cycle as to lack any significance, God’s Gun pairs two of America’s favorite leather-faced B-movie stalwarts, Jack Palance and Lee Van Cleef, for a violent romp through the usual muck of religion-drenched vendettas. Produced by the notorious hacks at Golan-Globus, and co-written and directed by Sabata helmer Gianfranco Parolini (using his Americanized pseudonym “Frank Kramer”), God’s Gun doesn’t look like the usual spaghetti-Western schlock. Instead of rolling hills and parched deserts, the picture is mostly set in an ersatz Western town, complemented with overly lit soundstages that give the picture a Hollywood feel. These contrivances make God’s Gun more garish than grungy, which is not an improvement over the genre’s norm. Yet the worst aspects of spaghetti Westerns are present in full force, such as atrocious dubbing, which replaces the actors’ on-set performances with studio-recorded impersonations by substitute performers. (Why hire name actors and not use their voices?) The embalmed plot begins when a gang led by Sam Clayton (Palance) invades tiny Juno City. Since the sheriff (Richard Boone) is an ineffectual non-presence, the municipality’s real muscle is Father John (Van Cleef), a gunfighter-turned-preacher. Father John acts as a surrogate father for wide-eyed teenager Johnny (Leif Garrett), the son of a buxom saloon hostess (Sybil Danning). When Clayton’s goons kill Father John, Johnny flees into the wilderness and stumbles across his late mentor’s twin brother, Lewis (also played by Van Cleef). And so it goes from there: Lewis exacts revenge, the baddies are brought to justice, et cetera. Ineptly written, haphazardly filmed, and acted with suffocating disinterest, God’s Gun is a chore to sit through and not worth the effort. It says everything you need to know about the picture that the linchpin dramatic performance is given by the talentless Garrett, then at the beginning of his uninteresting run as a teen heartthrob.

God’s Gun: LAME

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