100 Rifles (1969)

100 Rifles (1969), directed by Tom Gries.

An entry in a well-known western genre: running guns to Mexico, blowing up trains and having massacre-level gunfights.

Lawman Jim Brown has crossed the border to bring back half-breed bank robber Burt Reynolds, who has spent the money on rifles for peasant revolutionary Raquel Welch. Brown becomes tangled up in the cause, gets hot and steamy with Welch (an interracial novelty at the time) and when Welch takes even a mostly clothed shower under the water tank, you can bet the train will stop for her. (The disc is PG today; times have changed).

It's large scale and action-adventure-packed with fine Spanish locations. Jim Brown was still a semi-pro actor but is likeable and studly. Reynolds is funny and Welch gets to do more running, jumping and fighting than usual. Fernando Lamas and Eric Braeden are the villains.

Some of the dialog drags and the plot is a problem: a jumble of chasing, fighting, shooting, blowing things up, drinking, getting caught and escaping. The same director did the Rat Patrol TV series and you can see the similarity: lots of episodic desert action that doesn't get anywhere. We do have a final big battle: train vs town, both sides having machine guns and artillery.

Certainly not top drawer (as, for example, The Professionals (1966)) but I liked it better than the IMDB rating would suggest.

Exciting Jerry Goldsmith score and a rather good-looking dual-layer DVD.

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