Monday, June 6, 2011

bad/awesome flixxx review: A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die (1972)

"Gentleman I can offer you nothing... except the chance to die honorably... and possibly live... in any case- freedom at the end."- Col. Pembroke

"What the hell is goin on?"- Major Ward

"You can't kill them, didncha hear, they're surrendering!"- Eli

Every time Netflix puts a "end is near" date on some of the flicks in my instant queue, I move them to the top of my list and then feel like I need to watch about four in a row before they all go off, and my chances are lost! Haha! Anyone else do that? Well, I did it again, it seems like a shitload of movies were scrapped on June 1st, and I managed to view a few of them before they did. This was one of them. I've been on a spaghetti western kick for a while, and this one delivered with a good story, great cinematography, some good actors, and a killer soundtrack. Win, win, win, win right? The story is sort of a civil war version of The Dirty Dozen, with a little bit of the Wild Bunch thrown in. With a haunting score by Riz Ortalani and great performances by James Coburn, Bud Spencer, and Telly Savalas, you can't go wrong with A REASON TO LIVE, A REASON TO DIE!!

A REASON TO LIVE, A REASON TO DIE - 1972 Movie... by chikungfu

This one starts off with a voiceover explaining that the following story is about the events that took place in Joplin, Missouri in 1862. What was super weird to me was that when I put this on, Joplin, Missouri had just been destroyed by tornadoes that morning 2 weeks ago. Very eerie way to begin a flick. Anyway, there was a Fort Holman there during the Civil War held by Union troops under the command of Colonel Pembroke (Coburn). But supposedly the Confederate troops came down and he let them walk right in and surrendered the Fort Holman to them. The movie starts off with Pembroke and Eli Sampson (Spencer) being picked up for stealing at a Union Fort somewhere up north. Everyone thinks Pembroke is a chickenshit traitor coward. But somehow Pembroke convinces the Union commander that he had escaped from being held down south and could make that commander a war hero if he would allow Pembroke and some men to go free on a secret mission to take back Fort Holman.

The Commander calls him crazy, but likes the idea of becoming a hero, so he lets Pembroke take 7 men from the gallows and be set free to go help him reclaim Fort Holman for the Yanks. So Pembroke gets his crew and starts on his way, but the whole way down, the men are plotting against him and planning to kill him and leave. He tells them that if they will just chill out, they'll all be rich, because he's REALLY going back to get a shitload of gold that he hid under a sundial. Eventually he gets them to the fort. Along the way they came to a barn and found some hicks who were killing anyone who came to them. They killed them, and got Eli and Confederate uniform so he could pose as a messenger from another camp.

They sneak Eli in and wait down in the ravine under a bridge for him to send down a rope. When he does, they start up. Eli finds out the bridge will be blown by the "alarm system" if anything goes wrong, so he talks loud enough to warn his friends. He has suspected all along that something else was up with old Pembroke, and gets a Confederate soldier to tell him the real story, that there is no sundial, and that means there is no gold. The real reason Pembroke wants to retake the fort is that, he only surrendered Fort Holman to Major Ward (Savalas) in the first place because Ward kidnapped his son and threatened to hang him. He said he wouldn't hang him if Pembroke surrendered the fort. And he didn't, he shot him instead. So Pembroke is coming back for revenge.

So the gang climbs up, the alarm is set off, the bridge is blown, but not before the boys get across. Most of the gang is killed one by one, but not before they could get into the holding cell with TONS of dynamite, setting it off over and over, blowing the fort all to shit, and manning a couple of gatlin guns, mowing down hundreds of Confederate troops. Man, once they invented those fucking gatlin guns, shit changed in the old west. I remember when Django pulled that one out of the his baby coffin and plowed through like 60 dudes. That was some wild shit. Anyway, basically all of the dudes except Major Ward, Eli, Pembroke, and Sgt Brent are dead. Sgt Brent is a Union man who got volunteered to go with Pembroke against his will because he stole his wife's cross necklace. He's a crab the whole time, and then he starts freaking out about the gold. Pembroke has called Ward out and they are walking to meet each other. Brent is threatening Pembroke and shooting the gatlin gun at his feet and screaming. Finally Eli just caps him. Then Pembroke finishes Ward with Ward's own sword as he yells, " HE WAS INNOCENT!!" Pretty badass. Then Eli and Pembroke walk off into the smoky distance. Recommended.

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