Take a tough-as-nails trail boss (Jim Brown, The Dirty Dozen), a smooth gambler (Fred Williamson, Black Caesar), a ruthless bounty hunter (Lee Van Cleef, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly), a mute martial arts master (Jim Kelly, Enter The Dragon), a desperate prostitute (Catherine Spaak, Cat O’ Nine Tails) and hundreds of greed-crazed gunmen. Turn them all loose in a chase to the Mexican border for a fortune in gold, and you have the action-packed epic Take A Hard Ride. Hollywood legends Dana Andrews (Laura), Barry Sullivan (The Bad And The Beautiful) and Harry Carey Jr. (The Searchers) costar.


Everything gets taken for a ride in director Antonio Margheriti’s action-packed but tedious horse opera “Take a Hard Ride.” No, this isn’t one of Margheriti’s memorable efforts. The movie opens with cattle owner Morgan (Dana Andrews of “The Ox-Bow Incident”) and his trail boss Pike (Jim Brown of “El Condor”) selling their herd of steers for a whopping $86-thousand dollars. Morgan tells Pike about all of that prosperity that this money is going to bring to their ranch in Sonora. Unfortunately, Morgan dies from a heart attack before he can hit the trail. Before he dies, however, he has to good sense to entrust the loot to Pike. Once word gets out that a lone African-American is lugging around that bundle of money, every thief and cutthroat tries to separate our hero from his dough.Lots of shootouts and stunning action set pieces, well photographed by Riccardo Pallottini using the location of Spain’s Canary Islands to great effect.

Terrific suspense sequence as our heroes must cross a bridge before others catch up to them. Brown and Williamson make an entertaining duo, their being African-American adding a unique spin to what is otherwise a familiar formula western..the idea of getting cash to another place avoiding gunfighters who wish to steal it is nothing new. Brown has never been as humane and considerate an on screen character, checking his ego at the door, allowing Williamson the opportunity to show off his pearly whites, playing the flamboyant, sharply dressed swindler who always has us questioning whether or not he can be trusted.

The DVD comes with a trailer and new interviews that cover the production. The A/V Quality is sharp enough for standard definition with minor haze in the background. The Dolby Surround track surprised me with its dynamic soundstage and playfulness across all speakers. Still, it’s a Blaxploitation/Spaghetti Western that won’t entertain all viewers. I’d recommend a rental first.



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