Red Sun

RED SUN (Soleil rouge)

 

Some films, you just figure, deserve to be better. And yet they can’t help but entertain you none-the-less, which is probably why you felt like they should have been better in the first place. All the elements separately are fine, but together, well…some science experiments, pop, some bust, and some meld together unremarkably.

You have an old spaghetti type style, international co-production train robbery Western.

You add Charles Bronson, the Clint Eastwood when Clint got too big. The Death Wish guy. The guy you know was cool, if you can remember when. He’s got attitude and humor.

Add in the assured direction of early James Bond pic veteran, Terrence Young.

For the bad guy, and to add a little spice, insert Jean Pierre Melville stalwart, and signature “Cool” Frenchman, Alain Deloin.

For sex appeal, add in the lovely Ursula Andress.
Now, are you ready for this:

You got Charles Bronson battling Alain Deloin. Cool. But he needs a partner. To top it all off: insert Toshiro Mifune.

That’s right. Yojimbo himself, that crazy samurai; The De Niro to Kurosawa’s Scorsese. Sounds too good to be true? Sounds great? Well, it’s alright. And that’s about it.

Now not to point fingers, but maybe some of the burden should go on Young’s shoulders. He directs this as fairly typical fodder, and doesn’t seem to know quite the picture he had on his hands. Not that it all fizzles. It is funny at times, and Bronson gets to keep a hard edge that is quite remarkable to what boils down to a cross cultural buddy flick.

And you can watch and enjoy. For two hours you get Mifune and Bronson playing off of each other. Bronson wins here, he is just fun. But how can anyone resist Mifune doing anything? I couldn’t. So I watched. And I enjoyed. But it’s by no means a remarkable movie. And for a younger crowd who just scratch their heads and shrug their shoulders at the mention of the actors I’ve named…well, skip it, because this is not their best work; this is just a place to further enjoy them, and you probably won’t get the appeal if your fan flag ain’t already waving.

And Deloin..I’m a Melville fan, so I’m a fan of Deloin, by default (and he is a fan of samurais, I’ll have you know…he is, after all Le Samourai). But he basically menaces in the beginning and the end, and is largely absent otherwise.

I guess with the actors filmographies in my mind, I expected something bigger than life. All these legends must add up to something bigger. I guess not. But hey, it’s better than what’ll happen with our next generation, who, after catching up by devouring hours of classic films such as “The Godfather,” “Raging Bull,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Goodfellas,” and many, MANY more, will think they found a wet dream when they discover the existence of a little film by  Jon Avnet called “Righteous Kill.” Ugh. I pity those kids.

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