Spaghetti Hands

Enrico Maria Salerno in Bandidos (1967)

Gentleman gunfighter Richard Martin (Enrico Maria Salerno) finds himself travelling on a train which gets hit by a gang of cold blooded outlaws lead by Billy Kane (Venantino Venantini), a young man who years earlier Martin had trained to be a sharp shooter. Whilst everyone else on the train is murdered and robbed Kane spares Martin's life but shoots him through both hands, destroying his career as a gunfighter. Years later Martin meets Ricky Shot (Terry Jenkins) who was wrongly convicted of the train robbery and having escaped from prison becomes Martin's student with both men looking for Kane to exact their revenge.

It's hard to resist using a food metaphor when describing the spaghetti western "Bandidos", so imagine your favourite pasta meal well this is a good attempt at it with some good ingredients and competently made but it doesn't stick out as being one of the best plates of pasta you ever ate, there is nothing about it which will make you want to have it again. So food analogy out of the way with and "Bandidos" is solid and for fans of spaghetti westerns is worth watching but watched once you won't find yourself feeling the need to watch again.

Terry Jenkins in Bandidos (1967)

Now there are some nice ideas in "Bandidos", the whole sharp shooter hitting the bottle after his hands are wrecked is a nice idea, you could say has been lifted from "The Hustler" although I would imagine it has been used elsewhere and maybe in other westerns. The whole semi secret story of Ricky Shot wanting revenge for being wrong accused is also a nice idea. But whilst we have these ideas and some classic spaghetti western styling, low angled camera work and troubadour style trumpet work it just seems to be missing something to make this a classic spaghetti western. It isn't that the acting is bad or that the pacing is off, it just that little bit of finesse, that moment of originality to make it more than just another spaghetti western.

What this all boils down to is that "Bandidos" has everything you want from a spaghetti western; style, soundtrack, characters and so on. But whilst an entertaining western it comes up short of being great or to be honest good enough that you would go out of your way to watch again.

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