This is one of the 70’s SWs that Lee Van Cleef made for all the people who hate the rest of his 70’s Pasta/Euro-westerns. The plot concerns Philip Vermeer, a fugitive from the law, and the various factions that are after him. The most powerful of these are the Saxons (headed by 70s SW regular Horst Frank), a powerful local dynasty at war with Vermeer’s family and followers. The most interesting, however, is an enigmatic ex-lawman named Clayton (LVC), who might best be described as an older Dirty Harry.
There is some Sabata-style acrobatics by Vermeer. The good news is that it comes off as a lot less over the top in this movie: Vermeer’s not a circus act, just a very athletic young guy who will do anything to get away from his attackers. The stuff he does just doesn’t seem silly in the way that the goings-on in the two Sabata movies I’ve seen do. This is a pretty low-budget movie, with LVC by far and away the most expensive thing in it. This isn’t one of those movies where the sets look fake, so much as they look dirty and lived in. Lots of atmosphere, some good shootouts, a nice dark sense of humor, really nasty villains, and a better than average LVC performance. Some of the editing is very well done, some of it isn’t, and the same is true of Bacalov’s score. There’s some problems with the plot, none of them particularly awful. It was fairly entertaining but no more than I expected. Directed by the guy who was originally slated to direct DYS, then demoted to second unit work when the stars demanded Leone.