A Fistful of Dynamite (a.k.a. Duck, You Sucker) (1971) Blu-ray Review



The picture could be sharper on this new Blu-ray however, the film is entertaining but not a patch on classic Leone.

Plot: An I.R.A. explosives expert on the run in Mexico meets an amoral Mexican bandit; together they are drawn into the Mexican revolution.

Review: A Mexican peasant bandido named Juan (Rod Steiger reaching for Eli Wallach) and his brood of illegitimate children team up with an Irish bomb expert named John (James Coburn) to rob a bank full of gold in the nearest town, but once they arrive they realize that a full-on revolution is going on and subversives are being executed in the streets. John joins the revolutionaries and all but inducts Juan into the fold, and by accident Juan becomes a hero to the revolution and spearheads the movement against a German army that has joined forces with the government. In the midst of the chaos, John and Juan become best friends, but their quest for gold and fortune is sidelined as they become important figureheads in the war.

A rowdy, bawdy adventure from filmmaker Sergio Leone, whose inimitable style is on full display, A Fistful of Dynamite is sort of fun until it takes a sharp turn into melancholy and despair. At more than two and a half hours, the movie has plenty of time for character development and long, staggering action set pieces (an entire bridge is blown to smithereens for real in one memorable scene), but this film falls behind if you compare it to Leone’s other western masterpieces The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly or Once Upon a Time in the West. Still, fans of spaghetti westerns should feel right at home. Ennio Morricone provided a strange, but memorable score to the film.

Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray of A Fistful of Dynamite is a standard HD transfer, with no restoration. The image is decent, and a nice upgrade form the region 2 DVD I’ve owned for years, but the picture quality could be sharper and nicer. Kino added a ton of special features, including several audio commentaries and a bunch of featurettes, trailers, and more.