Lee Van Cleef in Sabata (1969)

Spaghetti Loops

Having arrived in the town of Daugherty, Sabata (Lee Van Cleef) sees that there is a $5,000 reward for the capture of the men who stole $100,000 in Army money and does just that along with the stolen money. But it seems that the town's leaders are not overly happy and before long Sabata has realised that it is the leaders who were the masterminds behind the robbery. Confronting them over his suspicions and demanding money to keep quiet he finds himself with a series of hired killers to contend with.

If you are a fan of spaghetti westerns "Sabata" starts off in fabulous fashion with a wonderful scene of Sabata riding in to town, his face kept from us as we hear some typical spaghetti western music. It might not be quiet up there with the standards of Sergio Leone but it is a cool opening. But then "Sabata" takes a bit of a twist as we see the robbery take place, a man sprung into the air off of a seesaw, a track thrown down in a bank to load a safe on to a dolly to pull it out quickly. It is again cool but seriously over the top. Yet that is what we get in the next scene which not only features Sabata shooting the chair legs out from beneath a man leaving him face down in his food but also flicking a coin across the room and in to the slot on a self playing piano. As I said it is cool but also a little too over the top and comical for a Spaghetti western.

Linda Veras in Sabata (1969)

And that kind of leaves me conflicted as "Sabata" is a really entertaining western with many elements which you would expect from a spaghetti western. But then it also has a far fetched side which again is entertaining but not what you expect from a Spaghetti western and if watched because you expected spaghetti western style drama and action it leaves you conflicted. You almost feel a little guilty when you enjoy some far fetched elements such as that opening robbery as well as the array of gadgets which Sabata has. In fact it at times feels like Sabata is half trying to be the western version of James Bond with Lee Van Cleef playing him as ultra cool.

The thing about "Sabata" is that it doesn't have a great deal of story, Sabata returns some stolen money, realises some town leaders are corrupt and ends up blackmailing them which in turn leads to his having to deal with hired guns. It isn't a lot of storyline and relies more on the far fetched elements and quirky characters from a man called Banjo whose banjo contains a weapon to alleycat who can jump off tall buildings and spring over moving wagons. Plus of course there is Lee Van Cleef who not only plays up to the whole rat face element which became his trademark but genuinely looks like he is having a laugh in this quirky western.

What this all boils down to is that "Sabata" is a curious movie and in truth a guilty pleasure as the combination of spaghetti western with over the top, far fetched action and gadgets should not work yet it does. Right from the opening scenes it puts a smile on your face and never lets it go with far fetched scenes combined with Spaghetti western styling.