Most conversations regarding horror, at one point or another, end up involving mention of Italian cinema and Giallo films. Discussion of Giallo films then lead to spaghetti westerns. I have admittedly not seen very many spaghetti westerns, but the couple that I have seen have been rather enjoyable. The latest one that I’ve added to my collection is Sergio Corbucci’s 1970 action-packed comedy, Companeros.
Yodlaf Peterson is a suave Swedish arms dealer with a love for fast money. Vasco is a trigger-happy Mexican bandit with a hate for suave Swedish arms dealers. But when the two men team up to kidnap a professor who holds the key to a fortune in gold, they find themselves hunted by the American army, stalked by a marijuana-crazed sadist and trapped in the middle of a revolution about to explode. Can these two enemies blast their way across Mexico together without killing each other first?
Companeros features some great performances by a rather unique set of performers. Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, and Jack Palance all bring their own style to this film, offering a very entertaining take on the western genre as a whole. Nero’s portrayal of ‘The Swede,’ along with Milian’s ‘Vasco’ bring a dynamic and rather awkward team to the audiences’ screen. They start off as enemies and begin to form a sort of friendship, as they realize they are on the same side after all. Although they begin to respect each other, they are still at each others’ throats most of the time, which is where most of the comedic relief in Companeros comes from. They are the silliness that contradicts the character of John, played by Palance, who is actually pretty silly on paper, himself. John the American is a pot-smoking, one-handed antagonist who has a pet falcon named Marcia with him at all times. Palance is the perfect villain for any film and his performance in Companeros is no exception.
While Companeros felt sluggish at times, the action-packed shoot-outs more than made up for it. I always love the choice of weaponry Sergio Corbucci allows his characters to use. In the 1966 spaghetti classic, Django, Franco Nero wields a gatling-gun type of hand-cannon. In this film, he also gets to wield some pretty large weapons, making the shooting scenes pretty damn fun to watch. If you’re looking for realistic blood and gore, this isn’t the one for you, as most scenes would have left bullet-hole laden bodies strewn about. This was not the case, but it really doesn’t take away much from the film… Seeing a group of about 30 companeros open fire on one general is still pretty awesome to see, even without hundreds or holes in his body!
Blue Underground has done a wonderful job of cleaning up and restoring the film transfer of Companeros. The entire film looks beautiful and I’m sure this is the best you will ever see it. Purchase a copy on Blu-ray today and let me know what you thought of the film and release, in the comments below.
I give this film 3 roasted falcons out of 5.