Three Supermen of the West (1973)
Film review #544
Director: Italo Martinenghi
SYNOPSIS: The three supermen are once again apprehended for a mission by the government, this time to destroy a time machine built by two scientists. The supermen manage to find the scientists and the time machine, but are accidentally transported back in time to the Old West, where the they meet a beautiful woman, and decide it might be alright to stop for a little while…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Three Supermen of the West is a 1973 sci-fi film and the fourth film in the Three Supermen series. The film starts in the way in which you should be accustomed if you’re following the series, as the government (of some country, or the CIA…it changes), again calls for agent George Martin to team up with the international thieves known as “the supermen,” in order to destroy a time machine invented by a pair of mad scientists. As always, the supermen are up to their old tricks, this time in Rome, where they’re scamming an American tourist into buying the colosseum in Rome off of them. Eventually, George chases them down after plenty of running and fighting, and the three head to stop the scientist, who has already finished the invention and travelled through time. They track him down, but accidentally end up activating the time machine themselves, transporting them to the Old West. There, they meet a young woman, and decide to stay a while. While the story in the second and third films was more grounded in the sense it was a spoof of typical spy films, this one just decides to loosen its grip on reality and go full sci-fi. It is reminiscent of the first film, which had cloning and a machine that could turn people into jewels as part of it’s story. Anyway, there’s not much direction or purpose in the story: the supermen travel back in time and just decide to stop a while because of a woman, leading to some typical Western genre hijinks. It’s a good opportunity for the film series to spoof a different genre this time (Westerns instead of spy films), but there’s nothing deeper to the story than that. Fortunately, the action and fighting is still full of energy, so it’s entertaining enough, even if it doesn’t go anywhere.
The three supermen are the same characters you will know from the previous films, but as always, some of the actors have changed between films. This time, it’s just the one, with the role of Brad being recast. The rest of the supporting characters are fairly forgettable, but they play typical, but necessary parts well, as they are fairly expressive and over-the-top caricatures. In fact, a lot of the film has a much more slapstick feel than its predecessors, with the fights becoming increasingly silly: at one point they even throw a cream pie at someone’s face, just to hammer the point home. It definitely captures that “Old West” feel despite being filmed in Milan, so credit should be given there. Also, to the silly sequence of the two scientists travelling through time, which shows them falling through various periods of history, made possible with stock footage of other movies, although some of the footage is in black and white, which is a silly little goof. Overall, Three Supermen of the West is more of the same mindless entertainment you got from the previous films, maybe even moreso, as the lack of direction in the story, and the more sci-fi elements and slapstick humour make the film more detached from reality than its predecessors. Still, it’s a little bit of fun so if you got through the previous ones, you can get through this one too.