COMIN' AT YA! (1981) 3D/2D Blu-ray
Director: Ferdinando Baldi
MVD Visual

Tony Anthony is COMIN' AT YA! with a vengeance in MVD Visual's 4K-mastered 3D/2D Blu-ray of the eighties cult western!

When bandits crash his wedding, making off with his virginal wife Abiline (future Almadovar muse Victoria Abril, TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN!) and leaving him for dead, H.H. Hart (Anthony) patches himself up and pursues. Riding through burnt-out ghost towns, he eventually comes across a wandering old Scottish coot (Lewis Gordon, CRYSTALSTONE) who tells him that his wife was taken by brothers Pike (Gene Quintano) and Polk (Ricardo Palacios, BLOOD OF FU MANCHU) who raid border towns for women to auction off to south-of-the-border whorehouses. Catching Polk with his pants down, Hart crashes Pike's auction to ransom him for the women who escape with the help of the Scotsman. With the help of his Indian cohort, Pike turns the tables on Hart and tortures him into giving up Polk's location. Pike and his men to go recapture the women, leaving Polk to take his revenge on Hart, but both sides have several 3D tricks up their sleeves before the final shootout.

One of two attempts by Anthony and director Ferdinando Baldi (TEXAS, ADIOS!) to cash-in on the short-lived early 1980s 3D craze – the other being the Indiana Jones-esque TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS, COMIN AT YA! recycles some elements of BLINDMAN (minus the Zatoicihi gimmick) as well as a grab bag of scenes and shots from other westerns, including a locket and music box melody from FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and a ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST-esque montage of boredom as Pike's men wait for Hart to show up for the final showdown. The finale harkens back to Anthony's A STRANGER IN TOWN as he takes out Pike's men around a ghost town (although the one that gets shot from below the floorboards takes buckshot to the groin this time around). Anthony and Baldi exploit the 3D aspect as jokily as FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III with gun barrels, spears, flaming arrows, hot pokers, snakes, bats, and a baby's bare butt thrust at the camera. The camera also gets pelted by gold coins, beans, and corn kernels from low angles. The cinematography of Fernando Arribas (THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE) looks its best during the desert panoramas and the interiors where 3D effects are not employed. Without the novelty of 3D, the film has little to recommend to it compared to Anthony's other everything-but-the-kitchen sink Western epics. The scoring of Carlo Savina (LISA AND THE DEVIL) – particularly one bit of Edda dell'Orso vocalizing – seems as it if might be recycled from another work (or perhaps it's just so indebted to Morricone that it sounds like it might be). Although Lloyd Batista – who starred opposite Anthony in THE SILENT STRANGER, BLINDMAN, and GET MEAN – co-wrote, he does not appear in this film; however, Quintano also contributed to the screenplay and would appear with Anthony in TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS before going onto a screenwriting career that included the two Allan Quatermain films for Cannon and three POLICE ACADEMY SEQUELS and directing the National Lampoon parody LOADED WEAPON 1. The supporting cast also includes spaghetti western regulars Luis Barboo (FEMALE VAMPIRE) and Charly Bravo (MONSTER DOG).

Released theatrically by American International successor company Filmways, COMIN' AT YA made its digital debut on anaglyph DVD from Rhino Home Video in a non-anamorphic letterboxed transfer. MVD Visual's 1080p24 MPEG-4 MVC 2.35:1 widescreen Blu-ray represents not the original cut but a 4K-mastered "Noir 3D" version which features a sequences featuring selective monochrome or color people or objects within a contrasting background a la SIN CITY. While this may work for the flashbacks of the wedding, they do not really make sense for other scenes like Pike's discovery of Polk's body which is entirely monochrome save for red blood or the next sequence where a black and white Pike steps into an otherwise color image to rough up Abaline. As with some other 1980s 3D films, the edges of wide shots can look a little softish, and the film looks its glossy best during non-3D shots. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 stereo encodes of the Dolby Stereo mix (presumably also tinkered with during the digital restoration) is not as gimmicky as other 1980s 3D films apart from a couple bits in which Hart is pelted with gold coins or flaming arrows whiz towards the camera. The sole extras are a promo (5:35) and trailer (1:55) for the film. Thankfully, we discover watching the feature that all of the horrid-looking recolored bits in the promo are actually from the end credits montage (which provides credits for the 3D restoration at the expense of the original below-the-line crew) while the equivalent scenes during the film are largely untouched. The 3D version is selected automatically depending on whether you have the appropriate player and television combination while others default to the 2D version. (Eric Cotenas)