My Mentor’s Review: “100 Rifles”

Note: I wish I could take credit for this piece, but I just can’t. This was emailed to me and written by my mentor. A man, who attended SMU, played professional soccer, played soccer with Rod Stewart and appeared in the film “Semi Tough” with Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson. He now owns and operates a couple of small businesses which are nearly run into the ground by my Mother. He is an incredible writer and I wish I could write as half as good as he can. Enjoy this.

Channeling Gene Siskel

Recently, and for no reason imaginable, I have been wondering if someone could make a living reviewing bad movies that were released a long time ago.

One might go something like this….

It has been many years since its release, but “100 Rifles” remains iconic in my memory as one of the standards of its genre.

It featured Burt Reynolds, far in advance of all the plastic surgery that has him looking like a wax figure in Madame Tussaud’s museum; Jim Brown before he started wearing those weird activist hats; Raquel Welch when she was sportin’ those magnificent McGuffies (well, she still has them, it’s just that back when the movie was made they were firmly planted parallel with her armpits, versus today’s version which NORAD confirms now inhabit the immediate area of her kneecaps); and finally, the inimitable Ricardo Montalban, who is the featured nasty in this particular piece of work. He is the oppressive commandante of a rundown garrison full of heavily-mustachioed mercenaries who wear giant sombreros, even indoors, and who are happiest when they are following Ricardo’s orders to crush the peasants and the Apaches, and have their way with the women of the village while the elder men are forced to watch.

BUT, as is the standard with cinema of this ilk, things always take a decided turn for the better for the peasants and the Apaches. In this masterpiece, said peasants commandeer Ricardo’s train with all his cache of weapons and launch themselves into full attack mode against the bad guys.

The action at this point is spectacular. Jim Brown explodes for a 68 yard run that was very reminiscent of his days with the Cleveland Browns, only this one ended with a trail of eleven dead Mexicans instead of a first down.

While Jim is sprinting, Burt Reynolds shoots some especially despicable n’er do well in the face at point blank range, and then throws a big stick of dynamite into the barracks full of bad guys. He’s apparently genuinely pleased, because one can see his smiling teeth gleaming from the depths of the sombrero-induced shadow that otherwise completely darkens his face.

And don’t think for a second that Raquel didn’t do her part. SHE was the one who managed to bring the entire munitions train to a complete halt so the good guys could attack it! Fortuitously, she decided to take a shower under the railroad’s water tower right when the train full of weapons and guards was approaching, and she stopped that baby right on its tracks…literally. She was soaking wet, and though the movie doesn’t have subtitles, I think the last thing one of the banditos said to his buddy before a stray round caught him between the eyes was, “I’ll bet those things are gonna be down around her knees in about 40 years”.

The high action portion of the movie concludes with Ricardo eating roughly an acre of machetes from a bunch of monumentally perturbed villagers. (Had the director of the movie been Nostradamus, he doubtless would have cast a little person as Ricardo’s sidekick, and just before the villagers close in, Ricardo could have asked him if there was any escape route, to which his ever-faithful partner could have replied…”De plains, boss, de plains!”)

And of course, after the splinters from the vaporized garrison have settled, and the blood has stopped dripping from all the victims, and the sun starts to go purple on the far horizon, our three heroes rejoin in the suddenly quiet town square. They exchange some clever dialog, touch foreheads during an awkward three way hug, and then share a quiet and satisfied chuckle. The movie ends with the viewer’s confidence restored that once again all is well south of the border.

South of the border.

That reminds me.

I have to pee.


Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

2 thoughts on “My Mentor’s Review: “100 Rifles””

  1. Damn, that was a pretty sweet review.

    I hope inspiring me to immediately head to Netflix and add the film to my instant queue was the desired effect, because that’s exactly what happened.

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