VILLA RIDES! REVIEWED
“Villa Rides!” is an insanely frustrating movie. It’s the first film to really get caught in the wake of Sam Peckinpah losing control on “Major Dundee” and getting fired from “The Cincinnati Kid”. Peckinpah was forced out of directing Villa Rides and his script was rewritten by Robert Towne. A sympathetic look at Americans and Mexicans working together for honor would be partially recycled into Peckinpah’s later masterpiece “The Wild Bunch”. That being said, director Buzz Kulik didn’t share Peckinpah’s desire to show masculine honor onscreen.
Kulik wanted to shoot bad guys and blow things up. Robert Mitchum plays a Robert Ryan style role, as the sympathetic American that decides to side with Pancho Villa (Yul Brynner). Charles Bronson plays Pancho’s #1 guy and the trio reigns holy hell all over Mexican bad guy scum. The Mexican Revolution is painted in broad enough strokes that it would make Leone’s take appear far more realistic. Still, it was a late 60s slice of pure Paramount action.
The era’s push to cover other aspects of the Old West makes sense for a 1968 film. Authority was being questioned and Mitchum was playing an American that didn’t know who could be trusted. Alliances were fragile and women were just as capable of fighting as men. Villa Rides! was slightly heavy action fare, but the world missed out by not having Peckinpah helm it. Alternate history can sour many films, but check this one out.
- 2.35:1 1080p transfer
- DTS-HD mono