By Don Simpson | February 24, 2012
Director: Ferdinando Baldi
Writers: Wolf Lowenthal, Lloyd Battista, Gene Quintano, Tony Pettito (original story)
Starring: Tony Anthony, Gene Quintano, Victoria Abril, Ricardo Palacios, Lewis Gordon, Luis Barboo, Charly Bravo, Joaquín Gómez
It is certainly not the all-too-overused revenge plot that makes Ferdinando Baldi’s 1981 western worthwhile. The acting is nothing to write home about either — heck, it is downright cheesy! As a two-dimensional film, Comin’ at Ya! would be nothing special; a grade D western relegated to someone’s moldy basement for the remainder of its rapidly deteriorating celluloid lifespan.
What saved Comin’ at Ya! from an early moldy grave was it’s effective use of 3D technology. To put it pure and simple, the first-ever 3D spaghetti-western Comin’ at Ya! does precisely what the title promises which is exactly what you want a 3D film to do…or at least it is exactly what I want a 3D film to do. Rather than merely using 3D technology to add greater depth to the scenes, like most of the namby pamby 3D films released today, Comin’ at Ya! breaks away from the confines of the silver screen and attacks the audience with a relentless barrage of…well…everything but the kitchen sink. From the brilliantly conceived opening title sequence, it seems like there is always something jumping off the screen and into the viewer’s face.
Sure, Comin’ at Ya! is ridiculously gimmicky but that’s exactly what makes it so much fun. Watching Comin’ at Ya! is more like entering a fun house or a haunted house than a traditional cinematic experience. It will rarely scare or thrill you (though the flaming arrows are pretty effective), but it never fails to conjure up laughs and cheers from the audience nonetheless. And it goes without saying that Comin’ at Ya! is much more fun to experience with a packed house of rowdy and boisterous cinema-goers than in solitary confinement…even if you do own a 3D television.
Upon its initial release in 1981, Comin’ At Ya! single-handedly ignited the resurgence of studio-produced 3D films. (Of course those 3D films — most of which are horror films — feature very few actual 3D effects.) Now Comin’ At Ya! is back again, this time for its 30th Anniversary, as the first fully restored classic 3D film utilizing state-of-the-art RealD 3D® technology. The technological revamp is very impressive, but it is still not perfect. Many of the images are blurry and/or distorted, but this critic ain’t complaining. I had a great time watching Comin’ At Ya!, and I bet I could watch it a hundred more times and never tire of it.
I cannot stress enough that I believe that 3D technology should be used to its greatest potential — which is breaking through the confines of the flat screen by sending images out toward the audience. If I am going to put up with dark, blurry and distorted images (which seems to be the case with any RealD 3D® film), I at least want them comin’ at me!