Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Master Gunfighter

Just saw The Master Gunfighter (1975), starring Tom Laughlin, whom older folks and 70's cheese obsessives will remember as the ass-kickin' half-breed vigilante Billy Jack. Gunfighter is a western remake of Hideo Gosha's samurai classic Goyokin (1969). Nice cinematography, cool-if-somewhat-TVish score by Lalo Schifrin, but the acting is atrocious. Laughlin trying to update the role originally played by the legendary Tatsuya Nakadai is akin to replacing a nice triple-creme brie with Velveeta. Then there's the fact that the film was directed by Laughlin's 13-year-old son ... To its credit, Gunfighter is faithful to the original, in some cases shot-for-shot, and the cowboys all carry swords to preserve the chambara aspect (Laughlin's is, of course, a katana). Unfortunately they weren't able to manage the snow for the big finale. On the other hand, Kinnosuke Nakamura's character is played by Superfly himself Ron O'Neal! Cinematic trainwreck or genre-bending indie triumph? You decide. My head hurts ...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

R.I.P. Ken Ogata

One of the greats. Click graphic below to enlarge: