VENGEANCE (Joko invoca Dio… e muori)

(director/writer: Antonio Margheriti; screenwriter: story by Renato Savino; cinematographer: Riccardo Pallottini; editor: Angel Coly; music: Carlo Savina; cast: Richard Harrison (Roko Barrett), Claudio Camaso (Mendoza), Alberto Dell’Acqua (Richie), Sheyla Rosin (Jane), Guido Lollobrigida (Agent for the gold mine), Mariangela Giordano (Rosita), Werner Pochath (Kid), Luciano Pigozzi (Domingo), Pedro Sanchez (Laredo), Freddy Unger (Yuma); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alfredo Leone/Renato Savino; Image Entertainment; 1970-Italy/West Germany-in English)

“Unrelenting violent spaghetti western about revenge.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Cult-horror directorAntonio Margheriti (“The Squeeze”/”Cannibal Apocalypse”), also goes by the name of Anthony Dawson, helms this unrelenting violent spaghetti western about revenge. It features Richard Harrison as Roko, who does his best Clint Eastwood imitation. His performance is somewhat stiff, but acceptable.

We first see Richie (Alberto Dell’Acqua) layed out on the desert floor and five Mexican banditos on horseback with a noose round his neck and four limbs threatening to be off in all different directions unless he tells them where his good friend Roko is. They are content that they have already recovered the gold he had on him. When Richie doesn’t blab, the poor guy is torn asunder as the banditos find this funny as they ride off separately.

Later we learn the gold was stolen from a fortress by Roko, Richie, Domingo (Luciano Pigozzi) and Mendoza (Claudio Camaso). Roko, a half-breed who lived with the Cheyenne, goes on a mission to get all five of the banditos, and he carries around five pieces of the rope they used on his pal to remind them why he’s dead set on getting even. In Roko’s search, he discovers his fellow gang members Domingo and Mendoza betrayed him. He also has an agent from the mine trailing him, who is only interested in recovering the gold. It’s all predictable how Roko gets back at the five (Domingo, Mendoza, Laredo, Kid and Yuma), and along the way finds a romantic interest in dancehall redhead Jane (Sheyla Rosin). Roko snatches her away from the man who bought her, Laredo, and forces Laredo to come after him with his gang. The climax (which was carried off very well) takes place in a sulphur mine, as Roko goes up against the psychopathic laughing Mendoza–the last of the banditos responsible for Richie’s torturous death.

Carlo Savina provides a cool score, and it opens and closes with a bang. Otherwise, it’s your run-of-the-mill excessively violent B film, with shoddy production values and ham-fisted acting. If you’re a fan of films like “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” this much lower in value western might still be good enough as an anti-Hollywood western to string you along with its badass atmosphere and amoral take on things.

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