I love the idea of the twilight spaghetti western, dirty, decrepit, but beautiful, nostalgic and melancholic films made during the genre’s agony, or after its death, depending on how you look at it. I wanted to love California, but unfortunately it’s quite uneven, actually no, I’d say that thanks to the music, a mediocre start to the second half and a terrible last third it falls into the not-very-good category. California is a prime example of the importance of music in a film, not because it has a great score, in fact it’s just the opposite. Instead of feeling melancholic, it feel sappy - instead of feeling lighthearted, it feels silly - instead of feeling haunting or thrilling, it feels overdone and that’s when the music is not just plain inappropriate. I see that this soundtrack has gotten its share of love around here, well I think it’s one of the most damaging (as in it hurts its film) SW soundtrack there is (and I overall liked Keoma’s). Despite that the first half of the film is rather good, the actor playing Willy could have been a bit better and the important death scene (not to spoil anything) could have been executed better (he sure did leap from his horse!), but its strengths (Gemma, the look of it, the script up to that point) make up for it.
Things start to sour up when Helen is introduced, not a very good actress she is and from then on, until all goes down the drain, it’s just alright. The worse part is when California/Michael confronts Rope. Did I miss something? Why didn’t California just demand to know where Helen is? He has a freaking gun pointed at him! Rope doesn’t have any choice, he can either show him where the girl is (and it’s not like he has much reason to care about her) and not die or die right on the spot! But no, instead let’s go with the brilliant plan of gaining his trust by teaming up with him and having an active part in a robbery and the murder of a couple of men. Sure, that sounds legit! I’m seriously wondering if I didn’t miss anything there, 'cause if I didn’t that sure was retarded!
Oh, and bad dub, aside from Gemma. I sure hope the few other twilight spaghs are better than this!