Victor S. K. P.’s review:
For A Fistful Of Dollars review:
Col. Douglas Mortimer: [discussing strategy to defeat Indio]
When two hunters go after the same prey, they usually end up shooting each other in the back. And we don't want to shoot each other in the back.
Of the few Westerns I've seen, I always found them to be problematic. The pacing was horrendous, the story devoid of emotion, and the environments felt uninspiring, as did the film in its entirety. Westerns could simply not hold my curiosity until its finale, much less my attention. And then For A Fistful of Dollars came along, and proved to me, that even with their flaws, Westerns could still be mighty fine films. Subsequently, I expected to enjoy For a Few Dollars More. Just not half as much as I have.
For A Few Dollars More is everything a sequel should be: it should make its own way into the world, add its own new, fresh elements, be a little more diverse and most importantly, it must surpass the original. Saying For A Few Dollars More is better than its predecessor would be a criminal understatement. Whereas the original was good, For A Few Dollars More is just flat-out spectacular.
It's pace is surprisingly consistent throughout its impressive duration, (roughly 30 minutes longer than the franchise's original iteration,) and it never drags, with an ever-constant tension. What's most impressive is that it does all this without rushing, instead taking its time, developing all 3 of its leads.
The film starts off by giving each of them a 15 minutes-long introduction, starting with the franchise's new-comer: Lee Van Cleef, as Colonel Douglas Mortimer, a bounty hunter defying the very definition of badass. Honestly, he stole pretty much any scene he was in, with little to no effort.
Clint Eastwood came next, once again stepping into the shoes of The Man With No Name, the central focus of the Dollars' Trilogy, under the alias of Manco. Once again, he makes for a great lead and his chemistry with Van Cleef's character is just brilliant, but more on that later.
The final lead is none other than the villain of the piece -- and what a villain it is. Gian Maria Volonté comes back in the sequel, albeit as a brand new character: El Indio. He is ruthless, brutal, yet dramatic, smart, cunning, and beneath it all, tragic and broken. The performance given by Volonté is nothing short of astounding, one that deserves to be up there with the Oscar Nominees, for he brought to life one of cinema's greatest ever villains, in a most impressive fashion. It's just a brilliant, unforgettable performance.
From that point on, about 45 minutes into the film, the plot gets going. Whereas it's not entirely unpredictable, it feels fresh, original, and surprisingly emotive, providing backstory to the villain, action, and even featuring some humour, all packed up with a brilliant pace. Of course, none of this would be possible without a great script, full of iconic quotes, which wouldn't have been as impressively delivered, had the great track not been surrounding pretty much each scene from the very start of the film.
Speaking of the music, whereas Ennio Moriccone's work this time didn't impress me as much as the first time around, (I thought it could have been used more often,) I have to give him credit nonetheless, as it's still great. What's really impressive, is the music within El Indio's watch, which's simply phenomenal...
Only one word would truly perhaps evoke my main feeling about the film:
awe·some - adjective
Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration.
Extremely good; excellent.
For A Few Dollars More has one of the most iconic, unforgettable duos ever put on screen, as well as fully fleshed out, and fantastic villain, powered by a great soundtrack, top-notch directing, a tight script, all adding up to present cinema at its very peak. Missing out on this ride would be a crime worth a bounty even The Man With No Name could never bring himself to imagine...
5 / 5 = Cinema at its very best.