Arizona Colt Returns (1970)

Arizona / Arizona Colt Si Scatena... E Li Fece Fuori Tutti / If You Gotta Shoot Someone... Bang! Bang! / Arizona Vuelve

poster for Arizona Colt Returns

Director Sergio Martino is most likely best known in the genre for his 1977 film Mannaja: A Man Called Blade, a very good film, released when the genre was on its last legs. Unfortunately, seven years earlier, he gave us a sub-par sequel to Michele Lupo's 1966 film Arizona Colt, called Arizona Colt Returns. The original Arizona Colt, although by no means a top-tier film, was still a well-crafted and enjoyable film. Martino's sequel pales in comparison.

Anthony Steffen as Arizona Colt

Anthony Steffen as Arizona Colt

Anthony Steffen plays Arizona, replacing Giuliano Gemma. Him and his compadre Double Whiskey (Roberto Camardiel, reprising his role from the first film) are still hanging together, and Arizona is still a bounty hunter. He soon finds out that there's a bounty on his head, for a stagecoach robbery that he had nothing to do with. The real culprit was a bandito with the oddly Anglicized name of "Keene" (Aldo Sambrell), who's apparently had some sort of grudge against Colt for a while. Keene's also been plotting to steal the gold from a local rancher, whose daughter he is secretly involved with.

Keene and lady

Arizona is captured by the townspeople and hanged (although due to a crafty trick with a wire, he survives). To make a long story short, he goes and wipes out Keene and his gang in typical spag fashion, the end.

Ok, lemme be clear: this film wasn't one of those godawful, unwatchable movies by any means. It was just a pretty mediocre outing, for numerous reasons. First off, Steffen as Arizona. Now, I happen to like Anthony Steffen. He has been criticized at times for giving rather flat performances. This is undoubtedly one of them. He has that famous psychotic Steffen look that he gives people from time to time, but I couldn't help but think he was a bit bored. In terms of acting, he doesn't hold a candle to Gemma, who I think was one of the best actors in the genre. And personality-wise, it was a bad choice. In terms of both appearance and style, Steffen's Arizona is nothing like Gemma's - it's like a completely different person. There's only a few things in this film that could make it classify as a "sequel": the character's name, the return of the Whiskey character, and the town has the same name. I know, the criteria of what constitutes a "sequel" in a spaghetti western is much different from the convention we know now (like, say "Rocky" and "Rocky II"). Tattletale "Dirty Bottle"

Camardiel's Whiskey character in the original was the slight comic relief that wasn't overplayed in an annoying way (often the case with those kinds of characters). Not so in this. Just about everything involving the guy involves him either calling for whiskey, talking about whiskey, complaining about whiskey, or sloppily pouring one or two bottles of whiskey down his throat. It gets old really quick, and it's not even funny. Ok, we get it... he likes whiskey.

I guess the biggest grip about this film is it just seems to be one cliche after another. It's ably shot and everything, it's just that it seems like it's going through the motions, and at times the dialogue is pretty lame: "Ever since I saw you, I'm in the mood to make some kids" . I'll cut Martino some slack, in that it was his first western, and he did vindicate himself in a serious way with Mannaja.

Arizona and Whiskey

"Whadya mean you liked Giuliano Gemma better?"

One final criticism, which you've probably read before if you've read other reviews: the theme song, sung by Cantori Moderni - "I guess I'm gonna get my gun... I guess I'm gonna shoot someone... Bang! Bang!" It sounds like something from a goofy comedy western, and not only that, it's used in the film way too much at rather inappropriate times, such as when something serious is going on on screen. The score by Bruno Nicolai is good, if typical.

The good? Well, as I said before, it's at least filmed well. And the Koch Media people did a fantastic restoration job on it - the video is crisp and vibrant, and the sound is good, too. I suspect that the source material was in better shape than the original Arizona Colt, which had missing frames and scratches and such. But other than that, as much as I like Steffen, I can't really recommend this one. It's not unwatchable by any stretch of the imagination, but it's nothing you'll remember, either.

German trailer:

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