Sunday, August 2, 2009

PLANET GRIFFIN'S Next Top Ten Movies That Move On Paper: Comics Undreamed Of! Pt. 13

PLANET GRIFFIN continues the celluloid top ten with a flick that was considered by many to be the least favored of Bruce Willis' films when it was released theatrically, but the home video cults revered this flick as '...Pure grindhouse gold...' Ladies and Gentlemen... The year is 1996...


The ghost town of JERICHO, Texas of the 1920's is the last place you would expect to find two rival mob gangs ( The Italians led by Strozzi and the Irish led by the equally psychotic Doyle ) fighting for control of the bootlegger industry.
The underrated BRUCE DERN plays the town sheriff, who opts to remain neutral in this violent, and often bloody, war... Life in town maintains its brutal status quo until 'John Smith', the enigmatic gunfighter played by BRUCE WILLIS of course, comes to town and quickly realizes the profits that can be gained by playing both sides... That is, until Irish enforcer Hickey (played with relish by the immortal CHRISTOPHER WALKEN) arrives in Jericho...

Now, if any of this sounds familiar to any of you movie lovers out there, you're already aware of Akira Kurosawa's immortal classic YOJIMBO, which Writer/Director WALTER HILL translated for this film (incidentally, the very first adaptation was from SERGIO LEONE in the spaghetti western originator, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, but I digress...) The gunplay angle used in this film stemmed from Walter's frustration from critics saying that Hill '...attempts to reach the cinematic level of Action King JOHN WOO, only to fail and fall short of the goal again and again...'
After watching the film, you too can agree that Hill plays up the love-hate affair with Woo as Willis lets the double automatics fly harder than anything the actor's ever done onscreen! (Woo's response to Hill was FACE/OFF--- so endth that argument.)
I can see the exploits of John Smith done in a tactile edition. As a visionist, I can definitely see a colorful cast of characters coupled with big action, set against a bleak, dusty background where the elements seem to play a character all its own... And every bullet plays a central role as the big equalizer...


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