I’ve seen my fair share of spaghetti westerns, but I would never admit to being a connoisseur on the genre. I just know what I like and what I don’t like, and Django the Bastard had a lot of what I like. It had a badass stranger entering a town and looking for the men who double-crossed him. Said badass stranger plays it cool and kills a whole lot of people. What’s not to like? (Well, the film does slow down in the third act, and some may be put off by that.)
The plot for Django the Bastard has the badass stranger, who of course is Django (Anthony Steffen), seeking out the men who betrayed him and his fellow Confederate soldiers many years ago. Django, who is dressed all in black, heads into town and slams down a wooden cross with a man’s name on it it. After a shootout ensues, we see Django isn’t the kind of guy you want to mess with, but many men think they can kill him, even if they see him as Death in a poncho.
What makes Django the Bastard so much fun is just how badass Django is in this movie. There are several times during the film where his badassery is put on display, be it him killing three men and tying them to a cross and throwing them on horses and sending their corpses off into town, or hanging out at a fire with several other men who have been hired to kill him and just casually saying they aren’t safe when a man asks him if they will be alright. Anthony Steffen exudes testosterone.
Unfortunately, the film does slow down when we get to the third act, where everyone is out to get Django in a small town. You would think this would be where the tension and action ramp up, but we instead get many scenes where not much happens. The cut we have on the Synapse Blu-ray is the alternate English US version titled The Stranger’s Gundown, and it clocks in at 99 minutes, which still felt long at times. The Italian cut is longer at 105 minutes, which arguably is only a few minutes longer, but when the movie already seems slow, any more is unnecessary.
Synapse Films releases Django the Bastard on Blu-ray with a new 2K scan of the 35mm negative. The occasional dirt or scratch shows up, but for the most part, the transfer looks stunning. We are seeing a nice even film grain and even during darker scenes, the film grain is never oppressive. The audio provided is a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track, which manages to produce clear dialogue, with the louder action never drowning things out. The film has been dubbed, so you will see some dialogue that is out of sync, but that has nothing to do with the audio track. Newly translated English subtitles have been provided.
The only extra feature on the disc is an audio commentary track with Film Historian and Author Troy Howarth.
- All-New 2K Scan Created from a Beautiful Original 35mm Negative Element
- Audio Commentary from Film Historian and Author Troy Howarth
- Newly Translated Removable English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
I’m sure there are plenty of other better spaghetti westerns out there. If you ask fellow reviewer Ryne, he would tell you the film wasn’t that great (read his terrible review), but I have to disagree with him. I think the movie served up some sweet revenge-filled justice with a lead badass character. Sure, some more time in the editing room would have made the film even better, but I’m not going to complain too much. I recommend picking up Synapse Films’ Blu-ray release, even if the features are lacking. The quality of the video transfer, combined with a great film, is more than enough incentive to plop down your money.