FANTASTIC FEST 2011: COMING AT YA! 3D Review
Back in the 80's when 3D was taking its dying breath yet again, as it is starting to do now, a couple of guys based in Italy, American actor Tony Anthony and director Ferdinando Baldi, decided to utilize the format to its fullest potential and create a spaghetti western action picture that would blow any other 3D competition out of the water.
The film was Coming At Ya!, a title that has nothing to do with the story of the film but rather the gimmick they sold it on. And shit does come at ya, by the truck loads.
Tony Anthony is Hart, a man about to wed his beloved Abilene, played by a young and gorgeous Victoria Abril, when a group of bandits storm the church, blow Hart away an kidnap Abilene and leave him to die.
But as western heros are vaunt to do he gets better and pissed off, arming himself with heavy weaponry and an attitude ready to kick some bandit ass all across the desert.
Hart arrives in to a decimated town where the gang has gone through and picked out all women and there he meets an old Scottish coot who rides along with him to the bandit's headquarters.
Abilene is being held by the Thomson gang, ruled over by brothers Pike and Polk who kidnap women from all over and sell to brothels and others who like ill-gotten flesh. They are the typical spaghetti western stable of bad guys, sweaty, grimy and general sleaze balls who do what ever the hell they want. Polk is the worse of the two, a Bud Spencer look alike who seems like a simpleton that needs his brother to tell him to relax when things get heavy. On one such occasion, when Polk has beating the crap out of Abilene for calling him a fat pig, he rides out to let off some steam by sleeping with a peasant girl while the father of her child waits outside. But as luck would have it Hart arrives killing everyone, even the mariachi brought along to provide the mood music, kicks the shit out of Polk and rides out towards the bandit's hide out.
Just in time to interrupt an auction of flesh to dictators and brothel owners Hart busts in guns blazing blowing away the evildoers almost getting away with it but fortune doesn't smile on him that day and he ends up tied up in the brothers treasure cove. Rash decisions and bad planing result in Hart escaping again and what follows is a straight up massacre right in your face.
As a film Coming At Ya is pretty basic as a spaghetti western, cookie cutter characters, a hero we know nothing about except that he wants to kill dudes that fucked him over. We never know what he did before his wife to be got kidnapped or how he got so good with a six shooter and a shot gun. All we know he's out for revenge and for a film like this it's fine really, we are here for the gimmick anyway. But what surprised me was how good the damn thing looked. There are some exceptional sequences in this, utilizing slow mo and great composition. Director Baldi really knows how to frame a shot and when to over crank the camera.
As for the 3D, it's also surprisingly good and well done, considering the low budget they had at the time. The title of the film says it all really, from the very first frame they have things coming at the camera, from snakes, guns, beans, rats, bats, swords, flaming arrows and baby asses, that's right, you get the full on experience of getting a toddler's ass right in your face. It does however get to a point where things coming at the lens are getting ridiculous and over used thus making the whole thing tired pretty quick. Things coming at your face is only exciting and funny for so long. Ask any prostitute.
Overall the film is pretty awesome and would probably work just as well in 2D. Fans of Kill Bill Vol. 1 will no doubt recognize the doomed opening wedding ceremony for instance. Tony Anthony as Hart is a complete bad ass, dropping bodies and one liners like a pro. Victoria Abril is just wonderful to look at but her character jumps back and forth from being a damsel in distress to a tough female who can hold her own against marauding bandits. Gene Quintano as Pike doesn't really have the looks to be a threatening bad guy and it doesn't help that his voice dub is desperately trying to sound tough. Ricardo Palacios however is a psychotic slob of a man you don't want to fuck with.
Coming At Ya! 3D does exactly what it says on the poster and it's fun up to a point. So aside from over use of the gimmick it's a crowd pleasing cult classic.