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God's Gun

Kino // R // February 22, 2022
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted March 3, 2022 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:

Directed by Gianfranco Parolini in 1976, quite late in the spaghetti western boom years, God's Gun (Diamante Lobo in Italy) introduces us to a bad, bad man named Sam Clayton (Jack Palance) who, along with his gang of equally bad, bad men, start wreaking havoc in a frontier town called Juno City. Father John (Lee Van Cleef) helped build the town up from nothing. He's an earnest man helped out by altar boy Johnny (Leif Garrett), who just so happens to be the son of Jenny (Sybil Danning), the owner and proprietor of the town's saloon/brothel. When the town Sheriff (Richard Boone) can't be bothered to set things right, Father John but after he does, he is shot dead by Clayon. With John out of the picture, Clayton and his cronies basically rape and pillage until their hearts' content.

With John now dead, Johnny, who goes mute after John is killed, decides to leave town and head out to find the late priest's twin brother, Lewis (Van Cleef again, of course!). Mute Johnny somehow convinces Lewis to come back to Juno City and avenge his fallen sibling, a move that puts more than a little fear into Clayton's game when they assume Lewis is actually a resurrected John out for holy vengeance! Before it all ends, there are a few neat twists and turns in the story that we won't spoil here.

An Italian-Israeli co-production (seeing none other than Golan and Globus serving as producers and handling the film's American theatrical distribution), God's Gun, despite a few twists, does feel like a fairly standard revenge-driven spaghetti western. The plot isn't all that original, nor are the characters, and the look of the film, while polished enough, was clearly inspired by some of the better known entries that came before it by better directors like Leone and Corbucci. That said, the movie, if cut from the same cloth as so many others, at least proves to be a pretty entertaining watch with more positives than negatives going for it.

A big part of the draw here is going to be the cast. Obviously by this point in his career, stone-faced Lee Van Cleef's name was synonymous with spaghetti westerns thanks to his work in the Dollars Trilogy and classics like Death Rides A Horse and Sabata. He brings the same steely-eyed, gritty screen presence that he brought to those earlier efforts to God's Gun and the movie is all the better for it. Jack Palance is also pretty fun here as the main heavy, scowling and yelling his way through the movie, chewing the scenery and clearly having a good time doing it. Sybil Danning isn't given as much to do here but she looks good doing it, while Richard Boone and Leif Garrett are pretty fun to watch in their respective supporting roles.

Production values are decent if never amazing. Parolini paces the movie pretty well and the cinematography from Sandro Mancori, no stranger to spaghetti westerns of peblums before working on this picture, is quite polished and nicely done. Sante Maria Romitelli, who scored the sleaze-tastic Top Sensation and Cry Of A Prostitute as well as Mario Bava's Hatchet For The Honeymoon, does pretty decent work here as well, delivering a selection of music that, like the movie itself, sometimes feels a little derivative but which ultimately works well enough.

The Video:

God's Gun arrives on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taking up just under 31.8GBs of space on the 50GB disc. The transfer, taken from a new 2k master, generally looks very good. The image is consistently film-like, showing plenty of natural grain but not much at all in the way of noticeable print damage aside from a few spots where some opticals are used where some white specks can be spotted, such as the opening credits. Detail is good here, if not reference quality, and it is clear that some shorts are softer than others, but colors are accurately reproduced and black levels are pretty solid too. There aren't any issues with any obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement to note and the strong bit rate ensures that compression artifacts aren't ever a problem. All in all, it looks very good.

The Audio:

The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in English with optional subtitles provided in English only. This is a fairly dialogue driven film but the track handles everything well, giving things some punch when the movie calls for it and doing a very nice job with the score. No problems with any hiss or distortion and the levels are balanced nicely. The subtitles are clean, clear, easy to read but you might spot a typo or two here and there.

The Extras:

An audio Alex Cox is the main extra on the disc. After he introduces himself, he talks about the specificity of the 'circus westerns,' that were a more comedic sub-genre of the spaghetti western and how this film ties into that niche, the casting of American movie star Jack Palance, the different camera work techniques employed throughout the film, details on the cast and crew, the film's score and the composer who made it, Sybil Danning's work as the heroine in the film, thoughts on Richard Boone's career and work in the film and of course, quite a bit on Lee Van Cleef's life, times and work in the film. He also gets into some of the details of the different characters that populate the movie, the perversity of the second flashback sequence (the rape scene) and possible reasons for it to play out the way it does and more. Like most of Cox's commentary tracks, it's very laid back with occasional bouts of dead air, but quite interesting nevertheless.

Aside from that, the disc also includes a trailer for God's Gun as well as bonus trailers for The Good The Bad And The Ugly, Death Rides A Horse, Barquero, Sabata, Adios Sabata, The Return Of Sabata, The Mercenary and Chato's Land. A reversible cover sleeve is also provided.


God's Gun may not rank up there with the best of the spaghetti westerns but it's got a really strong cast and some neat ideas at play as well as a few solid action set pieces and a good score all working in its favor. Kino's Blu-ray looks pretty good and Cox's commentary is decent. Recommended.

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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