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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Adios Sabata (Blu-ray)
Adios Sabata (Blu-ray)
Kino // PG-13 // May 9, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted May 11, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
E X T R A S
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The Movie:

Gianfranco Parolini's Adios Sabata sees Yul Brynner take over for Lee Van Cleef in the role he made famous in the original Sabata picture in 1969, helmed by the same director one year before this second film in the series. The film is set in Mexico where Austrian military forces have begun taking over large swathes of land. As such, gangs of Mexican revolutionaries are running rampant, attempting to wreak havoc with the occupying European leadership. The leader of one such group is Senor Ocano (Franco Fantasia), a man savvy enough to hire a gunslinger named Sabata (Brynner, as mentioned) to work for him.

See, Austrian Colonel Skimmel (Gérard Herter) has a huge sum of gold on its way, gold that he intends to use for all the wrong reasons. This doesn't sit well with Ocano, who wants to steal the gold in order to further fund the revolutionary efforts of his men. With Sabata's help, he just might be able to pull it off. Sabata agrees to help and soon enough he and some friends, Escudo (Ignazio Spalla) and Ballantine (Dean Reed), are leading the charge against the convoy, only to discover that the bags they thought would hold gold are instead filled with dirt. Elsewhere, word gets back to Skimmel that Sabata has been helping the revolutionaries and decides to take him out of the picture permanently. Sabata and his crew, however, are not going to let the gold get away so easily…

The biggest difference between the first Sabata movie and Adios Sabata is, obviously, Brynner picking up where Van Cleef left off. He brings a very different slant to the character, playing him with nary a smirk but a perpetually steely-eyed stare that actually works quite well. Clad all in black leather for the duration of the picture, Brynner is really solid here, playing the tough guy well and if not completely supplanting Van Cleef (who would return to the role shortly in the third film Return Of Sabata, at least putting his own stamp on the character. He's a lot of fun in the role and if it isn't as iconic as his turn in something like The Magnificent Seven it's still pretty great.

Like the first movie, there's also a sense of humor to all of this. If Brynner's character doesn't get to participate in the more comedic aspects of the picture it's clear that the actor was in on the joke and playing the character straight. The movie is all the better for it, Brynner's easier to take seriously than he probably would have been had his turn in Sabata's dusty boots been more comedic. And again, like the first film, there's some winky gimmicks here too, highlighted by a scene in which a character named September (Sal Borgese) launches some tiny cannonballs at his foes with his feet! This further adds to the film's lighter, almost jovial tone.

Having said that, if this is hardly as dark a Spaghetti Western as something like The Great Silence it's serious enough at times to bring us back down when the story calls for it. There are some modest political jabs in the film, painting the revolutionaries as more heroic than the occupying forces despite the fact that they're basically bandits. No harm no foul there, it makes for a more enjoyable film and in a way works along the same sort of moral code as the Robin Hood legend if you care to take it back that far. The action scenes are nicely shot and there's some good fight choreography here too. The sets are fine and the decent production values ensure that the costuming is good and the sets and backdrops all appropriate to the period in which the film takes place. On top of that, we get a really solid score courtesy of composer Bruno Nicolai. If he's clearly aping the maestro Morricone at times, so be it. if you're going to steal, steal from the best.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

Adios Sabata arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. While some shots look a little on the soft side and a bit noisy, for the most part this is a pretty solid picture. Detail in close ups, which are used frequently in the Leone tradition, benefit the most but medium and long distance shots improve here too. Black levels aren't quite reference quality but they are certainly solid enough and overall this high definition presentation surpasses the previous DVD from MGM in some very noticeable and appreciable way.

Sound:

The audio is handled by an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, there are no alternate languages or subtitles of any kind provided. Dialogue is pretty clear, easy enough to follow, while the score has a reasonable amount of depth to it. The sound effects, gun shots in particular, are a little bit thin sounding but the movie has always sounded like this on DVD and VHS before it so that's really not a shock. There are no issues with any hiss or distortion and the levels are properly balanced. This isn't a fancy track but it gets the job done.

Extras:

Extras are slim here, limited to a trailer for the feature and a few bonus trailers. Menus and chapter selection are included.

Final Thoughts:

Kino's Blu-ray release of Adios Sabata is light on extras but it looks and sounds pretty decent. The movie itself isn't the greatest Spaghetti Western even made but it is definitely a fun time killer. Brynner is really good in the lead role and the supporting players here are pretty entertaining as well. Recommended for fans of the genre.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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