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RED SUN starring CHARLES BRONSON, TOSHIRO MIFUNE, URSULA ANDRESS and ALAIN DELON

RED SUN is set in 1870. The Japanese emperor wishes to express his respect to the US president by offering him a precious samurai sword. It'll be brought to him by train, escorted by the Japanese governor and two samurai. The train is robbed by gang of outlaws, led by Delon and Bronson. The robbery is successful, but the greedy Delon wants to keep everything for himself, including the precious samurai sword, and tries to kill his partner. Bronson survives, but is then forced by the Japanese governor to retrieve the sword with the help of samurai Mifune. The samurai wants to kill Delon right away, but Bronson wants to catch him alive, in order to get the loot from the train robbery. . .

By 1971 the European western had come to a crisis. Sergio Leone seemed no longer interested in making westerns and pale imitations of the Trinity comedies dominated the market. The French-Spanish-Italian RED SUN was an effort to breathe new life into the European production of large scale westerns. To cover all possible markets, Charles Bronson (fresh from Leone) was cast alongside the sophisticated French cult actor Alain Delon, legendary Kurosawa favorite and SEVEN SAMURAI star Toshiro Mifune (Bronson from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and Mifune from SEVEN SAMURAI--- Dream casting!) and Bond girl Ursula Andress. Like the cast, the script was a bit of a soufflé: RED SUN is a comedy/drama hybrid and some of the violence is quite graphic for a mainstream production aimed at large audiences. Most contemporary reviews were negative, but today's comments tend to be more positive: being brought up with Indiana Jones and Arnold Schwarzenegger, younger generations seem to be more receptive to the movie's offbeat concoction.

As some critics have mentioned, the film's casting was not only smart (from a commercial point of view), but also quite bizarre. Mifune's character, or at least his behavior, seems closer to the characters played by Lee van Cleef in many of his European westerns: he's a stoic, unflinching professional, marching through to the film's finale with no more than a grim on his face, taking out his sword (replacing Van Cleef's usual collection of fire-arms) to prove his efficiency. Platinum blond Swiss actress Andress, on the other hand, seems an odd choice for a character who behaves like a madcap señorita most of the time. Because Mifune only has a handful of lines throughout the movie (his English wasn't exactly water proof), Bronson's part was rewritten on the set: in complete contrast to his strong-willed, taciturn roles, his character is surprisingly verbose and lively, often verging on hyperactivity. If you wanted to have at all cost a French actor of the 'angry young men generation', in a Euro western, the sophisticated Alain Delon was probably the most unlikely choice (it always surprises me that Belmondo was not asked), but he seems to enjoy himself as the black clad "Gauche" (= Left, his does everything with his left hand).
RED SUN is not a Great movie in the sense of Art with a capital A, but it's a lot better than most other east-meet-west westerns of the decade, and far less ludicrous. It makes sense and the action is not entirely bonkers. Everything is thrown in to make it worthwhile, including Indians, hookers and a lot of fake blood. Furthermore it's beautifully shot, using the wonderful Spanish locations to excellent effect. Bond director Terence Young (yes, he directed that star-making scene with Andress) directs efficiently, and the finale, set in a burning cane field, is a well-crafted, spectacular set piece, as good as they come in the genre.

MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM ***All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!*** and here is the basic disc info: MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you! MEDIA, LABELED WITH FULL COLOR ART. PICTURE AND SOUND ARE ALWAYS 10 OUT OF 10, UNLESS NOTED, AND ARE COMPARABLE TO, OR BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED DISC. THEY ARE HOUSED WITH FULL-COLOR BOX ART IN STANDARD DVD CASES.