Blood Money Cover To some extent spaghetti westerns and martial arts films have quite a lot in common. Normally they're very simple looking affairs possessing a fairly simple story-line. Plus on top of that, you can also get to see them both mixed together in the following 107 minute movie made in 1974. It was Directed by: Antonio Margheriti; and Starred: Lee Van Cleef, Lo Lieh, with Patty Shepard.

Blood Money

Now please don't be offended, lady. But do you see the Chinese feller standing next to me? Yeah. That's him. Ho Chiang (Lo Lieh). Well, he would like to take a look at your pert ass please. No. Not just your pert ass. Your ass plus three other nice ladies arses as well.

You see, many moons ago his Uncle Wang (Al Tung) stole a box of treasure from a gang of Warlords back home in their native China. And then, in his most infinite wisdom, he came here to the States and hid the location of this loot by tattooing a message on four women's behinds. Yours' being one of them, of course. 

Unfortunately enough, Ho and I never knew anything about this until his Uncle bit the biscuit a few days ago. And so, my dear, that is why we're here to see you today. To take a look at your... well... you-know-what! 

Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires flashes the flesh when a pretty lady look's up at me and says, 'Sure, Dakota (Lee Van Cleef). Your friend can take a look at my ass. But hurry up, will you? Cause there's someone else who wants to take a look at it afterwards'. As two bad guys are hot on the trail - some asses are bigger than a whale - a gambler hits a ginormous Richter scale - and at the end of the day, a showdown results in the Chinese Holy Grail.

On a conceptual level I'd say 'The Stranger and the Gunfighter' is a thinly disguised buddy movie trapped inside a spaghetti western and a kung fu flick. Not that this is a bad thing, of course. But if you ever get around to watching it, you will notice it uses these two idioms to convey a premise of shrewd proportions -- favoring the western component only because a large chuck of the narrative was set in the Wild West.

The Stranger And The Gunfighter 1974 Movie Poster Starring Lee Van Cleef and Lo Lieh
Again. Not a bad thing. If anything it was a really good thing. So good in fact that I really loved the whole God damn thing! Honestly. It had a simple premise that was episodic in structure, yet easy to follow. It had some great on screen chemistry between its two main leads -- Lo and Lee. Most of the locations exhibited a well polished sheen I wasn't expecting from this sort of production. Plus on top of that, it possessed a very tongue-and-cheek tone to it as well. Not too bawdy to turn it into a farce. Yet bawdy enough to allow the plot to flow without anything superfluous' hindering its path.

Well, you know how some jovial tales can spend a lot of their time setting up jokes which don't seem to reinforce their overall narrative? Not in this case, my friends. The way I see it, even though the gags worked within the confines of this adventure --  most of the time, anyway -- that still didn't stop it from conveying character, story, and pathos, whilst entertaining us -- the audience -- in that very buddy movie type manner.

Now don't get me wrong. On the flip side of things there were a couple of aspects I weren't too happy about either. To start off with I wasn't very keen on the two main villains -- the priest and the native american character -- because their presence wasn't felt until the last third of this flick. Plus as much as I did like the dubbing on Lee's and Lo's voices -- especially Lo's, due to his more lighter pitched tone -- the rest of the cast members where... errr... how can I put this? Oh! I know. Either bordering on archetypical, or downright cheesy.

The Stranger And The Gunfighter Starring Lee Van Cleef and Lo Lieh

The Karate, The Cold and The Imposter 1974 Movie Poster Starring Lee Van Cleef and Lo Lieh
But apart from that, my friends, everything else was right up my alley. The action was dynamic even if it did take a back seat at times to the general story-line. And as for Lee's and Lo's performances -- wow -- what a great surprise that was! They were so genuinely wonderful together I'm flabbergasted they never made a sequel afterwards. So flabbergasted in fact, that I now have to direct you towards the following filmic facts, Ha! (1) 'Shaw Brothers' first released this production in Spain sometime in 1974. Not sure of the exact date, though, although it was defiantly screened at the latter half of the year. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Karate, The Colt and Impostor' in Spain; 'Gunslinger and The Stranger' in Sweden; and in America it was given the alternate title, 'Blood Money'. (3) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'The fastest gun in the West joins with the most brutal hands in the East!'. (4) Even though some of this movie was shot on location within the Chinese province of Hong Kong, some of it was also shot on location in Spain, too. This includes Almería, Guadix, and La Calahorra, based in Granada, Andalucía. (5) If you listen very closely to the Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson 2000 kung fu / comedy, 'Shanghai Noon', you will hear one of them refer to Lee's character in this film... Dakota. (6) It is believed that Shaw Brothers developed this adventure because they wanted to branch out into a wider and more lucrative audience. An example of this can be seen in another one of their co-productions with Hammer, 'The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires', released in the same year. (7) Something else you should listen to very closely is the soundtrack for this shindig. Yes. 'Rye Whiskey' was sung by Lee Van Cleef. (8) After this adventure shot its last bean sprout, Lee Van Cleef starred in the western, 'Take A Hard Ride'; Lo Lieh starred in the crime-drama, 'The Concrete Jungle'; and Patty Shepard starred in the comedy, 'Watch Out, We're Mad'.

The Stranger And The Gunfighter Film Still Starring Lee Van Cleef and Lo Lieh

Overall I'd say 'The Gunfighter and The Stranger' was a really great film. Even though it was more of a buddy movie than anything else, that's not to say it isn't still one hell of a great watch.

Just like a pert ass. Nuff said.