Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 16th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, October 15th, 1967
Director: Massimo Dallamano
Writers: Juan Cobos, Luisi Lasco, Luis Laso, Romano Migliorini, Gianbattista Mussetto
Cast: Terry Jenkins, Enrico Maria Salerno, Cris Huerta, Marco Guglielmi, Venantino Venantini, María Martín
DVD Released: July 21st, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Video Asia
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98 (Bandidos is only available as part of the Thug City Chronicles DVD set)
Synopsis: A Gunslinger is left crippled by one of his former protegees. Unable to shoot a gun the gunslinger recruits a new pupil in hopes of exacting his revenge against his former protegee. His quest for revenge is put on hold when his new pupil reveals his motives for befriending the crippled gunslinger.
Bandidos was the directorial debut of Massimo Dallamano whose work as a cinematographer included films like Gunfight at Red Sands, A Fistful of Dollars, Bullets Don’t Argue and For a Few Dollars More. Even though this is the only Spaghetti Western that he directed, he was not a stranger to the genre having extensively with in the Spaghetti Western genre as a cinematographer. The cinematographer on Bandidos was Emilio Foriscot who’s other notable films as a cinematographer include Face to Face, Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, The Strange vice of Mrs. Wardh, Human Cobras and Case of the Scorpion’s Tail. The score for Bandidos was composed by Egisto Macchi (Mr. Klein). Like so many Spaghetti Westerns the score for Bandidos borrows heavily from the style of score firmly established by composer Ennio Morricone.
The plot revolves around three men Richard Martin a skilled gunslinger, Billy Kane a former protégée of Richard Martin, who is now a murdering thief and Ricky Shot, a mysterious young man whose life has been turned upside down after being wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit. The film opens with a violent train robbery where men, women and children are all killed by the bandit’s indiscriminately. To further drive home the brutality of the Billy Kane character, there is a stylistic tracking shot that reveals the carnage left in the wake of his bandits robbing the train. Throughout the film this characters sadistic side is constantly reinforced with each new victim he knocks off. The most interesting aspect of the film is the relationship between Richard Martin and Ricky Shot. While on the surface they appear to have the same goal, one if more driven by revenge, while the other wants his former life back. Performance wise the entire cast all given well rounded performances with the films standout performance coming from Enrico Maria Salerno in the role of Richard Martin (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage). Even though the film retreads themes previous explored in countless other Spaghetti Westerns the end result is a very satisfying revenge themed film moves along briskly and there is never a dull moment.
Video Asia presents Bandidos in a letterboxed widescreen that looks pretty close to the films 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio. This transfer is interlaced and there are some noticeable instances of blurring. The image at times looks to soft and colors look slightly off. At least the source used is in relatively good shape as print damage is virtually nonexistent. For this DVD release Bandidos has been put on a single layer DVD with another film titled Tony Arzenta. Also Video Asia’s DVD release for Bandidos clocks in at 90 minutes 45 seconds. There are three other DVD releases of Bandidos, the Japanese DVD release from SPO and two German DVD’s releases, one from Starmedia and the other from New Entertainment World. The cut used for this release appears to be the one used for the SPO and New Entertainment World DVD releases.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio has noticeable background noise and at times sounds distorted.
Video Asia’s presentation of Bandidos is only available as part of the Thug City Chronicles DVD set which also includes Tony Arzenta (1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen), Blind Rage (4:3 Full Frame), Godfather’s Daughter (1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen), Manhunt (1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen), The Boss (1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen), City Rats (4:3 Full Frame), Milan Calibre 9 (1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen), New Mafia Boss (4:3 Full Frame) and Redneck (1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen). All of the films come with one audio option each, English and all of the transfers are interlaced. None of the transfers look that great with the more serviceable ones being Tony Arzenta, Bandidos, Manhunt, The Boss and Milan Calibre 9. Overall Bandidos gets a mediocre audio / video presentation from Video Asia.