Álex de la Iglesia, known for his comedy thrillers, is one of my favourite directors. I’ve seen all but his most recent feature films, and among them, “800 Balas” [Eng. Title: 800 Bullets] is my favourite alongside “El Día de la Bestia”. In a way, this film is Sr. Iglesia’s ode to spaghetti westerns as much as an appraisal of unsung talents in the film industry – in this case, stunt men who take that spectacular fall when needed but rarely get recognition.
Young Carlos learns from his grandma that he has a grandfather called Julián living in Almeria, who along with Carlos’ father (dead after an accident) used to perform stunts for spaghetti westerns during their hay day. He now performs mock stunts instead in the decrepit old sets to earn a living. Carlos wants to visit him, but his mother still hates the old man, blaming him for her husband’s death. During a trip to a school ski camp, he sneaks out of the bus and heads to Almeria, ski gear et al. After telling him off for visiting without his mother’s knowledge, Julián lets him stay, during which time they bond. When the angry mother tries to close down his set and build in its place a theme park, Julián finds he has a fight in his hands, this time for real, if he is to keep his job and way of life. I had posted a review for this film years ago, but this is a fresh compilation made from my DVD.
The excellent opening credits and soundtrack sets up the film nicely, and the cinematography aptly recreates the ambience of spaghetti westerns. Aided by some playful editing and an interesting soundtrack, the film is entertaining, and the witty dialogues and bevy of muchachas calientes make the film truly enjoyable. Needless to say, Recommended Viewing..!