'A Pistol for Ringo & The Return of Ringo: SE'
(Giuliano Gemma, Fernando Sancho, et al / Blu ray / NR / 2018 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: The original Ringo films introduced another iconic hero to the spaghetti western; a clean-cut sharp shooter who was markedly different to Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name.
Blu ray Verdict: In truth, 'A Pistol for Ringo' is an above-average Spaghetti Western. The anti-hero (Gemma) and villain (Sancho) are both very charismatic, and each has a good sense of humor. The basic plot situation is interesting: Fleeing from a bank hold-up in which their leader was wounded, a gang of bandits takes refuge at a farm.
Although the farm is surrounded, the posse cannot attack because of the hostages. The anti-hero is highly paid to infiltrate and destroy the gang, and recover the money.
The film has some unusual twists; for example, the bandits are executing two hostages per day, even after the anti-hero joins the gang, and he makes no effort to halt the executions.
There is also an interesting contrast between the behavior of the anti-hero (Gemma) and the sheriff (Martin) who behaves like a traditional Western hero. Overall, the film still holds up today in the genre that it was created for, and there is also a very nice music score by Ennio Morricone.
Now, and as for the follow-up, 'The Return of Ringo,' well, look out folks as it is definitely not a sequel! Sure, all of the main actors return for this story, but they play completely different characters, and while Giuliano Gemma portrays another character called Ringo, this protagonist has nothing in common with the first Ringo!! It may seem unusual to those who haven't watched a lot of these movies, but that kind of thing is quite common in the spaghetti western genre.
This Ringo is not an outlaw like the one in the previous movie, yet he is much more serious and deadly, because he has been wronged on a very personal level, and is seeking justice and revenge. This gives the movie a much more sombre tone than the previous film. It's a gripping story without a single boring moment.
All of the main actors are at the top of their game in this one. Antonio Casas is especially good as the dysfunctional sheriff who pulls himself together with the help of Ringo. Giuliano Gemma is even better in this movie than in the previous film, and I can't say enough about Nieves Navarro.
Not only does she do a wonderful job portraying "Rosita," she looks even more incredible in this film than in the last one, which is a feat I would not have thought possible. She is quite possibly the most amazingly beautiful woman to ever appear in a western.
Also, Morricone's music score is also an improvement over the one he wrote for the first Ringo movie. There is more music in this film, and the tunes are more memorable. I especially like the theme song and if you're a fan of this genre of movie, I know you will too. These are both brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
•Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negative
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
•Original Italian and English soundtracks
•Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio
•Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
•Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
•Audio commentaries for both films by Spaghetti Western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke
•They Called Him Ringo, an archival featurette with star Giuliano Gemma
•A Western Greek Tragedy, an archival featurette with Lorella de Luca and camera operator Sergio D Offizi
•Gallery of original promotional images
•Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx