Comin’ At Ya!
directed by Ferdinando Baldi
starring Tony Anthony
What do you get when you render a 3D movie to 2D? You get a movie with lots of otherwise inexplicable camera angles, and much more obvious plot holes. This classic piece of bad cinema was originally released in 1981 when I saw it in one of those Art House places in the bad part of town. The 3D effects were much more impressive than the plot, and while it’s now on Blu-Ray the plot isn’t any better and the disc I reviewed lacks a 3D version. The internet chatter implies it’s available, but I suspect an actual 3D TV would make the experience better.
Coming At Ya! used the polarized process which is now universal, and in the never-quite-world-changing 3D cinema genre it was at least better than the old two color-business that got us through Creature from the Black Lagoon and Bwana Devil. More pointedly, the Blu-Ray rendering process attempts to make a silk purse out of a used rubber giving us a film with weird pixilation effects and many over-saturated scenes.
The story begins in B&W and switches in and out of color. I suspect there were budget issues along the way and near the end some scenes are obviously colorized. Good guy H.H. Hart (Anthony) is wounded at his wedding by the evil brother Pike and Polk Thompson (Gene Quintano and Ricardo Palacios). They kidnap his bride Abilene (Victoria Abril) and haul her off to a life of prostitution in Mexico.He heals quickly or some time passes; either way long shots of riders in the sunset fill the first part of the movie. Director Baldi lovingly films corn falling to the camera lens, spears sticking out of losing mooks, and 3D bats attacking Abilene and her fellow prisoners as they mope about in a bell tower wearing only filthy torn night shirts. There’s some slight nudity but not anywhere near enough to justify the now flat 3D scenes. The gun battles between Hart and the brothers are done well enough for a genre film, and there are endless scenes of the night shirt women running madly through the dessert. We also get a close up of a baby’s naked butt; this alone makes me glad I’m still in 2D land. Hart is almost crushed by gold coins; too bad they are clearly the sort of plated plastic coins tossed out at Mardi Gras. But I do give him points for at least trying.
While the artistic choices are bold, they are all rather laughable. Hart feels clean and honorable, and the brothers brutish and properly evil, and the plot formulatic. The highlight of the acting comes from the drunk and dissolute Scottish priest who becomes Hart’s sidekick, his name is never mentioned and IMDB turns up blank on him, but he has the best lines in the show. I rate this film as “D” for drinking – take a drink every time threes a scene with gratuitous 3-D and you’ll have a fine time.