Just watched this today.
What begins as an unremarkable if pleasant enough movie improves considerably as it goes on. Giuliano Gemma’s winking, wisecracking persona felt a little grating if I’m completely honest (it’s only been a matter of weeks since I saw A Pistol For Ringo for the first time, a superior movie but with Gemma in similar puffed-out mode), and for the first hour or so only served to rob the movie of any discernible tension. And: ENOUGH with the card games! Poker is THE most boring pastime to watch, ever. I would sooner watch a staring competition, or a round of “Who Can Stand Still the Longest”. The only thing worse than watching a hand of poker on the telly is watching a scripted hand of poker in a Spag western, where all of the “nobodies” at the table are “only” holding three jacks or a full house or something else that would in any other circumstance definitely win them the hand, except that we already know that the bad guy is going to draw four queens or something similarly improbable, only for the good guy to just rock over to the table, get dealt in and BLAM! Four aces, or Royal Flush or something, all as though it happens all the time. I suppose one could argue, “But, last.caress, you don’t object to similar flights of fancy when it comes to gunfights featuring antiheroes who can hit a ballbag from quarter of a mile away without even looking, or six-shooters than can fire fifteen rounds?” Well that’s true, but sod it; I’m a flawed, imperfect and unique creature. I am God’s own snowflake. ;D
Anyway, fortunately enough things pick up after an hour or so when Arizona is shot to pieces by Gordo the generic “Fat Mexican Waving His Hands About & Shouting a Lot” bad guy, with his face like a bearded collie. That’s quite late, maybe TOO late for me to consider this a true great, but late or not the tone of the movie definitely shifts, and with it, Gemma shifts from “Cocky pretty boy” to “Decent and Fallible” and the entire movie benefits noticeably as a result. Maybe it’s just me but I feel that Gemma is at his best when it feels as though he has something to lose, and might just lose it. By the time we move into the climactic final twenty minutes, Arizona Colt has become a bloody good movie.
Definitely one that rewards those who stick with it. Given that I know that it gets better and better, maybe I’ll enjoy the first half of the movie all the more on a second pass.