Everything you read about Comin’ At Ya! indicates that this is the movie that jumpstarted the 3-D revival of the early 1980s. As I watched it unfold though, I couldn’t help but wonder if this movie was made by opponents of the 3-D movement to sabotage it!
Stunningly dire for almost all of its painfully sluggish 90 minutes, I wondered what mainstream audiences must have made of this thing. Those of us steeped in Italian exploitation go in with our eyes open, expecting just about any kind of car wreck imaginable. Regular folks though must have been perplexed with the movie’s lack of almost any dialogue, editing that had shots going on longer than they had to or with nothing happening, and worst of all, its constant use of slow motion anytime something finally decided to happen!
The movie barely manages to rouse itself to tell the story of H.H. Hart, a failed bank robber and his girlfriend Abilene. Following a beat down administered by the minions of the pissed off manager of the bank they tried to rob, Hart and Abilene get married because nothing says “what a catch” like a guy too wimpy to shoot a guy giving him lip during a bank holdup.
The wedding though is interrupted when a pair of brothers (Pike and Polk) steal Hart’s wife. They have a business trafficking in women and poor old Abilene is now being held with a bunch of other gals, just waiting for the guys to put them up on the 1876 version of Craig’s List.
The rest of the movie details Hart’s efforts to retrieve her. It all comes to an explosive climax in a town where Hart kills everyone and blows everything up for no other reason than someone probably thought twenty explosions in a row at the end of the movie would be enough to wake the audience up so they could leave the theater. They should’ve have tried about forty.
The dull story is only made worse by the one thing I thought would make it tolerable – the 3-D! If you loved 3-D before this movie, by the time it’s finished, you will forever swear it off!
There are a lot of 3-D effects in the movie and they are used whether the story demands it or not. There are several scenes that are incredibly annoying including the multiple times they had characters dropping nuts, beans, and gold coins in our faces. And a girl blowing bubbles in our face? That’s not boring at all! There was even unpleasant scene of a baby’s bare ass being shoved in our face for no reason at all!
Two particularly hideous sequences stand out though. Near the end of the movie when the bad guys are waiting for Hart to arrive in town to save Abilene, we see how the outlaws pass the time with an endless montage of 3-D time killing! There’s yo-yos, darts, ball tossing, some shooting of liquor bottles, dropping of peanuts and all sorts of crap like that. And it just went on and on and on! When Hart finally confronts Pike and proceeds to beat him senseless with a two by four, I felt he deserved it, not so much for stealing Abilene, but for stealing my love of 3-D!
If that montage wasn’t enough though, as soon as Hart defeats Pike, instead of the movie ending, it fires up another montage of 3-D diarrhea! Remember that horrible movie you just sat through? Well, get ready because the whole thing is comin’ at ya again!
The next five minutes is all the major 3-D scenes stitched together and interspersed with shots of really cheesy sparklers, exploding fireworks, and swirling flaming things! One can only imagine the audience nudging each other as the scene with the fake bats attacking the women played again and declaring “that was the part I hated most in this movie” followed by someone else saying “no, this was the worst part” as the scene of Polk being menaced by greasy black rats was replayed. They even showed that baby mooning us again!
Director Ferdinando Baldi (Ten Zan – Ultimate Mission, Warbus) and writer/producer/star Tony Anthony apparently believed that this 3-D stuff was here to stay (did these guys sleep through the 1950s?) and quickly churned out Treasure of the Four Crowns and supposedly were planning a third space-oriented feature before 3-D died again.
Treasure Of The Four Crowns of course was the greatest of all the 1980s 3-D flicks with its Raiders Of The Lost Ark-style action uniquely suited for tons of shots of spears, knives, flaming balls, other death traps flying out of the screen at the audience. That was cheesy fun at its best and delivered what it promised. I mean, it had floating crossbows, spinning heads, and melting faces!
Coming At Ya! though somehow manages to be bland, grim, and annoying all at once. Yes, I understand that in a 3-D movie, we’ve got to expect long, loving shots of a guy getting stabbed with a pitchfork and stumbling toward the camera for an eternity, but do we really need slow motion whenever a character just gets pushed down? Or when someone reaches down to grab them? If real life used slow motion like this, I would still be crapping my drawers and Gerald Ford would still be president!
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