Sunday, 8 March 2015

Ace High (3 Stars)

Netflix likes to mess around with its customers. I had some trouble understanding what was happening in the first half hour of this film. Were Terence Hill and Bud Spencer the good guys or the bad guys? I paused the film to check The Infallible Wikipedia, and I discovered that "Ace High" is the second film in a trilogy, and the second film begins by referencing the final events of the first film, "God forgives, I don't". Ah ha! So I decided to put off watching the rest of "Ace High" and watch the first film first. Tough luck. Netflix doesn't offer "God forgives, I don't", just the sequel. Stupid. So I had to make do with reading a plot summary of "God forgives, I don't" before continuing with "Ace High".

That's enough anti-Netflix ranting for today. Now where was I? Oh yes, Terence and Bud are bad guys. Sort of. They play the bandits Cat and Hutch, who robbed a train in the first film. They may be bandits, but they spend the whole film fighting other bandits, so they're the lesser evil. It's a very lawless film. We never see a sheriff in town. In fact, in one of the first scenes Cat asks where the sheriff is, to which the reply is "He's gone fishing". After that he's never mentioned again, and he never comes back.

The film begins with Cat and Hutch retrieving their loot from the train robbery. It's been deposited in a bank, but the crooked bank manager is trying to hold on to it, and he needs some gentle persuasion to let them make a withdrawal. While crossing the desert Cat and Hutch are robbed by a bandit called Cacopoulos. They pursue him across the border into Mexico, and they're surprised to find he's been giving the money away. When they catch him he says that he's not interested in money for its own sake, he just wants to get revenge on his three partners who betrayed him and let him spend 15 years in jail. He agrees to give Cat and Hutch back the remainder of their money, which he's hidden in a safe place, if they help him get his revenge. That's a good deal, and Cacopoulos seems like an honest guy, but they haven't reckoned with his gambling addiction. Before handing the money over to Cat and Hutch he goes into a gambling house for a few small bets, and he ends up losing all the cash. So Cat and Hutch team up with Cacopoulos not just to get revenge, but also to get back the money that he's lost.

Even though he only appears in the second film, Eli Wallach steals the main headline on the film posters as the honest but totally unreliable bandit Cacopoulos. He was a famous actor in America in the 1960's, while Terence and Bud were at the beginning of their careers.

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