The Master Gunfighter
Time Out saysThe Billy Jack series (featuring a disillusioned half-breed Indian Vietnam veteran) was sufficiently successful in the States to produce this spin-off Western. Set in Spanish California, it has Laughlin alone in challenging a decadent aristocracy for exploiting the peaceful local Indians. The film could have worked but for an excess of formula ingredients and muddled preachings. Adapted from a Japanese film, the transposition dubiously retains much samurai swordfighting and semi-Oriental costumes. Meanwhile, the over-mannered camerawork pays its dues to the Italian Western. In the resulting cultural hash, the plot with its strong anti-religious theme is too often disregarded. Laughlin is spectacularly uncharismatic, his doughy features laughable in brooding close-up. Best are the superb Monterey coast locations, reminiscent of One-Eyed Jacks; a pity nothing else is.