Monday, September 30, 2013

Billy Crap: The Master Gunfighter

You really ran out of ideas, didn't you?  Today's film The Master Gunfighter, a title so generic that it needs an explanation.  Enjoy this long explanation, fans of information.  For the rest of you, you can skip the next few sentences.  Tom Laughlin is an idea man.  He managed to bide his time and finally got his pet project- Billy Jack- made.  It was a surprise hit in the early days of wide releases, as was its follow-up:  The Trial of Billy Jack.  The next *official* follow-up was Billy Jack Goes to Washington, which was a big, bloated disaster.  While the previous films were cheap, but big money makers, this film cost a lot (for the time) and didn't make much cash.  Part of the problem: they spent an estimated $750,000 building a copycat of the Senate Floor (since they were denied the right to shoot at the real one).  Before that film, he made today's film.  It's ostensibly a Western, but it's still very much a Laughlin film.  How so?  Well, it was Produced by his Production Company and Directed by his son!  I should note that the film wasn't Written by Laughlin, but it sure feels like it.  You'll see what I mean.  The film is about the titular Gunfighter battling the odds and trying to help- you guessed it- the Indians.  To see how far I made it, read on...
The film begins with the longest narration that I have ever seen.  Star Wars' famous intro- short by comparison.  Oh and it's ponderous Writing makes me *not* want to hear Burgess Meredith's voice.  What have you done to me?

In summary, the Christians used Indians as slaves and everyone fought over gold.  Are you still sure that Laughlin didn't write this?

Oh and Meredith says that the film is 'Part Reality, Part Fiction and Part Fantasy.'  Yeah.
This Indian lady finally comes home to her Village, only to find many of them dead and the rest vanished.  The film manages to make this whole Plot Point seem silly in a minute.

Incidentally, is it Racist to comment that the placement of her mole makes me sometimes question what kind of Indian she is?  Maybe a little.  Good thing I didn't say that then.
Laughlin and his...beard, I guess, are the film's hero.  He worked with the gang that attacked the Village, but didn't take part.  Nuance- what's that?  He leaves the Gang, but doesn't actually help any of the Indians.

However, all of the blame gets thrown on him and the film jumps ahead...3 Years.  The life expectancy was about 28 back then- that's a big jump!
Laughlin decides to hide from everyone as...The Master Gunfighter.  That's hiding, huh?  Why not wear a glowing sign with your name on it?

Naturally, some men track him down and interrupt his show...which is mostly him showing off his sword skills.  Why, you ask?
Well, this film is actually a Remake of Goyokin, a Samurai film.  That explains why the last part I watched had a bunch of Cowboys sword-fighting!  Tom, if you wanted to make a Western, make one.  If you wanted to make a Samurai film, well, make that.  Pick one!

Did I stop watching after this because of apathy or because the film went off of Streaming?  Yes.  The End.
It's...not an easy one.  I wouldn't qualify this as one of the worst films that I have had to endure by any means.  The biggest problem is the opening Narration.  Seriously, you guys ruined Burgess Meredith for me.  I have to watch my Blu-Ray of Batman: The Movie just to cleanse my palette now!  This movie is just so full of itself that it's annoying.  I know- Tom Laughlin full of himself, big surprise!  That Narration is more pretentious than a College Lecture on the Origin of Man delivered by a French Professor smoking a long cigarette!  This is a Western!  You can make nuanced stories in them, but you don't have to be so dense about it.  The Master Gunfighter is an arty Remake that wants you to go in expecting a normal Western and then 'stay for the life-changing message.'  I didn't.  I'm pretty sure that most people didn't.  It's still better than Billy Jack Goes to Washington.  At least I had to LOOK UP that it was a Remake.  Take us away, favor for your wife...
Let's clear the air with some Horror.  To help finish off my Horror Set, I'll go back to Slaughter High.  Stay tuned...

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