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Groggy
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2011, 07:30:41 PM »

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John Wayne's stretch of films between True Grit and The Shootist is a pretty grim sight, The Cowboys notwithstanding. Exhibit A is Rio Lobo (1970), his final collaboration with Howard Hawks. Even Jacques Rivette would have a hard time defending this film, a mediocre rehash of previous Wayne glories.

During the Civil War, Union Colonel Cord McNally (John Wayne) sees a gold shipment robbed by Confederate partisans led by Captain Cordona (Jorge Rivero) and Sergeant Tuscarora (Christopher Mitchum). When the war ends, McNally runs into his old adversaries and learns that the robbery was set up by a traitor amongst McNally's ranks. McNally's quest for vengeance leads to the scummy border town of Rio Lobo, where his old adversary (Victor French) and a crooked Sheriff (Mike Henry) run the town as a private fiefdom. McNally teams up with the ex-Rebels, feisty girl Shasta (Jennifer O'Neill) and a grouchy old coot (Jack Elam) to set things right.

Lazy is the perfect word for Rio Lobo. After a creative curtain-raising train robbery, the film's plot drifts all over the place and never amounts to anything remotely interesting. Unable to generate much narrative interest, Hawks falls back on a rerun of Rio Bravo and El Dorado for the last half-hour. The Duke who shunned help in Rio Bravo enlists a gaggle of townspeople for the final showdown, but that's the only fresh wrinkle in a hopelessly derivative Western.

John Wayne is always a pleasure to watch, but he's let down a lousy supporting cast. Jorge Rivero (Soldier Blue) and Chris Mitchum are uncharismatic losers who aren't fit to hold the Duke's jockstrap. Love interest Jennifer O'Neill's acting talent sure doesn't match her looks, and villains Mike Henry and Victor French are as threatening as neutered poodles. The lone bright spot is Jack Elam (Once Upon a Time in the West) in the Walter Brennan/Arthur Hunnicut role as Wayne's grouchy sidekick.

Rio Lobo is overwhelmingly mediocre. It's not painful to watch, but even the most hardcore Duke fans won't find much of interest. 5/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/10/rio-lobo.html


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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2011, 08:28:10 PM »

I pretty much agree with you, Groggy. I may up the rating slightly to somewhere between 5.5 and 6, but this sure was a disappointment. Wasn't as blatant a ripoff of Rio Bravo as El Dorado was (till the end), but for a movie that started out so well with the incredible Civil War stuff, it sure turned disappointing after that.

Aside from those opening scenes, I remember liking the production design, Wayne, and little else.

Rio Bravo is probably my favorite AW, and Hawks was a wonderful director, but he should have left well enough alone, rather than repeating that story.

« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 08:29:26 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2011, 03:44:03 AM »

I basically follow Groggy's review, but I'm nevertheless more positive about Rio Lobo. I don't like the civil war intro that much, and I like Jennifer O'Neil's acting.

Of course it can't held a candle to the much superior Rio Bravo and El Dorado, but it is still done in the typical relaxed Wayne style, and al in all I enjoyed it last month more than on former viewings. 6,5/10

So it is still a better John Wayner in realtion to his too often disappointing output between True Grit and The Shootist. The other 2 are Big Jake (6/10) and of course The Cowboys (7,5/10).

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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2011, 06:27:25 AM »

Big Jake is one of the worst Westerns ever made

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« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2011, 07:30:49 AM »

Big Jake is one of the worst Westerns ever made

You still have seen a lot of the worst westerns ever. Wink


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Groggy
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« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2011, 10:09:14 AM »

One of the worst Western ever, no, but a pretty wretched film all the same.

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« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2011, 10:27:50 AM »

One of the worst Western ever, no, but a pretty wretched film all the same.

I try not to watch bad movies... so it's one of the worst I have seen.

Nice landscapes and Elmer Bernstein score. And Wayne is always good. But that's all.

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