|Rating: Liked it
Director: Romolo Guerrieri
Release Year: 1967
Genre: Spaghetti Western/Western
Starring: Gianni Garko, Loredana Nusciak, Claudio Camaso
Django is hiding in the shadows, watching a group of banditos. The lead bandito hears him and fires several rounds into the dark.
Pistolero: Come out here... show your face!
Django : Do you always introduce yourself after you shoot?
Pistolero [Angrily]: Sure I do. [Points to the half-dozen sheriff's badges pinned to his chest] Look at these! These are all fine hombres that I met afterwards.
I'm not going to go into the history of the Django movies. There's other sites that do that far better than I could. But, for those of you that need an executive summary, know that in 1966 Sergio Corbucci directed Franco Nero in the movie Django.. the tale of a mysterious bounty hunter who was as unstoppable as he was ruthless... and in so doing, sparked countless imitators. There were literally dozens of Django movies pouring out of Europe each year in the late 60's and early 70's... each from a different director and each starring a different Django.
This is Django. Don't mess with him.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and admit that, apart from Terence Hill, Gianni Garko is my favorite Django. Nothing against Franco Nero, but there's just something about Garko's Django that clicks for me. Maybe its the fact that his portrayal of Django is less 'superhero' than most... more human. To me, Garko is Hill without the mischeviousness... in other words, a near perfect candidate for a Django movie. Plus, its hard to find fault with any man badass enough to play both Django and Sartana.
At the start of 10,000 Dollars Blood Money, Django has just returned to a town with his most recent bounty... an unnamed dead man he's been dragging along the countryside like unwanted baggage. As he collects his $1000 reward, he notices a $3000 bounty for Manuel Vasqiez (Claudio Camaso), an outlaw Django has crossed paths with in the past.
Is it just me, or does Manuel look just like Kids In the Hall's Bruce McCulloch?
This sets up a great confrontation scene where the Django and Manuel meet over a poker game. Manuel, proud of the $3000 bounty on his head, starts to brag to Django about his 'feared outlaw' status. To Manuel's dismay, Django is very dismissive of the '3 Bill Outlaw.'
'A three bill bandito is no trouble at all... they're usually kids. There's a challenge when a man makes it to six. You're very close now. When they go from six to eight bills.. they're big bounty. Your chances of making the money go to about one in a thousand. Me?... I'll move at ten bills.
Who knew they had poker back in the 60's?
Manuel is pissed, but his anger is redirected when he loses a major pot to a cardplayer holding 4 Aces. 'Guess it doesn't take much to cheat a 3 bill outlaw' Django laughs. Manuel kills the cheat, and in a sign of respect, tosses half the money to Django.
While Django waits for Manuel's bounty to grow, he spends his time getting to know a showgirl in the local saloon. Her name is Mijanou (the breathtaking Loredana Nusciak), and she despises Django's occupation. "The sheriffs give you your bounty money" she tells him, "but you're just a murderer!
For some reason Mijanou look ridiculous in still shots, but trust me... she's hot.
Over the course of the next few days Django and Mijanou begin to fall in love. Django even seems close to giving up his bounty hunting days when, inevitably, the bounty on Manuel reaches $10,000. The draw is too much for Django to resist, and as he rides off Mijanou warns him that she's leaving for a better life in San Francisco. The next stage coach leaves in 6 days, and Mijanou vows to be on it... with or without Django.
Django heads off, and when he reaches Manuel's hideout the show of respect that the movie previously established comes into play. Instead of shooting Manuel in the back like he usually does with his targets, Django gets into a fistfight with him. Manuel ends up being a tough son of a bitch, and the brutal fight ends in a draw. As the two warriors lay exhausted side by side on the floor, Manuel points out an obvious truth:
"Your business is bounty hunter. You kill people for money... like me! That's crazy. The two of us are merchants: Dealing in Blood!"
Manuel offers to cut Django in on a job he's pulling the next day: robbing a stagecoach filled with gold. Django, perhaps realizing that he's more similar to Manuel than he'd like to admit, accepts. The next day the two pull off the job, but in the process the two passengers in the stagecoach are killed: a priest... and Mijanou.
Disgusted with his actions, but not immune to the allure of gold, Django double crosses Manuel and takes off with all the gold. Before the film's end there's bloodshed, torture, stabbings, and a kickass duel. I won't give away the ending, but come on... there were about 300 Django movies after this one, and as far as I know, no Manuel Vasqiez movies.
At least there's no scorpions. Wait... Crap.
10,000 Dollars Blood Money has everything I want from a spaghetti western: a morally questionably protagonist, an outlaw with a guilt complex, at least one scene taking place at over a poker game, a smoking hot Italian chick, tons of extreme close-ups of the character's eyes, and no slow spots. Sure it may not have broken any new ground, but it kept me entertain for 90 minutes... and that's all I ask.
It ain't an Italian movie until you zoom in on those eyes.