Comin at Ya… slowly

Director Ferdinando Baldi had an affinity for spaghetti westerns. Some 20 years after the genre was rendered defunct, Baldi tried to reinvigorate the old west with a splash of 3D. Tony Anthony sort of stars. In reality, the gimmick is given top billing which put itself on blast across the poster – sans any irony.

Thirteen minutes pass before word is spoken in Comin’ at Ya. Babies learn to talk faster. In that time, Anthony wanders aimlessly around a barn, dropping things onto a dirty camera. Sticks poke at the lens and snakes are shoved at the audience. Within the same sequence, there is a bevy of black & white cinematography, busted blood squibs, and ransacked weddings. Most of this is in done in plodding slow motion.

Comin’ at Ya has no sense of what it is, that being a shameless, often dire excursion through tropes and cliches. Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles laid the genre out bare six years prior. Comin’ at Ya appears blissfully unaware of its own antiquated existence and pushes on as inconsistently weird.

Most films wear 3D as an accessory. Comin’ at Ya uses the western as an accessory to 3D.

Striking with comically goofy (but attractive) poster art, Comin’ at Ya never embodies a sense of irony or self-awareness. Baldi presents the material straight, acting as if the finale with bodies piling through windows at the lens is somehow sensible. This is after rats have scurried toward the camera, fake bats were tugged forward on visible strings, and an Indian stereotype sent arrows into the frame. Most films wear 3D as an accessory. Comin’ at Ya uses the western as an accessory to 3D. Much like porn seeks any means to couple its actors, Comin’ at Ya searches for any viable 3D sensation.

There is something to be said for a film enamored with the process. 3D inspiration is abound and ridiculous – an infant lowered into view, hands groping the audience, yo-yos, peeling onions; anything is suitable, sensible or not. Anthony treats his role seriously, unaware of the exploitation’s process. His character must be aware of the action’s absurdity. Comin’ at Ya is only dressing up a placid revenge tale in 3D. It’s a story of helpless women sold into brothels and the man who comes to save them, old fashioned and uncomfortably bland.

Historically, the feature has merit, sending the second generation of 3D into theaters which succeeded enough to latch onto studio’s pop culture properties. Friday the 13th fell into the process by the third sequel. Jaws too. They all owe something to this bore, even if Comin’ at Ya tends to embody the best/worst elements of the format. Shock western? More like schlock western. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]

Comin' at Ya! Blu-ray screen shot 2

MVD gives Comin’ at Ya 4K treatment from an internegative in generally acceptable condition. The print is marred by a variety of scratches and debris. Clean-up did not catch everything. Impact is minor though.

No matter resolution, Comin’ at Ya is bothered by erratic leaps in quality. Definition will be determined by the cinematography rather than the Blu-ray transfer. For a majority, images lean soft, voiding clarity of Spain’s landscapes. Close-ups are iffy.

To their credit, MVD’s work excels. Grain is resolved up until a challenging, hyper red barn fire. That’s a result of aggressive color correction. Artifacts seem unavoidable in this brief sequence. Digital color adds a dense, near neon saturation, popping the sky, grass, and flesh tones. Then Comin’ at Ya will sink into a dimmer, even pale palette at times by design, returning to color quickly. At another point, characters themselves become B&W. It’s… odd and doesn’t feel like a film print. It’s a bit of modern revisionism.

The transfer’s heaviest push is contrast. Highlights are extreme, blooming and flaring out to flatten any visible detail. Again, the digital tinker leaves a mark. Black levels are not so deep although their natural density is appreciable.

Pages could then be written about the 3D, jumping between superb and awkward. Opening credits, creative as they are, suffer from alignment issues. Given the intended depth, any loss of stability is a strain on the eyes. When this works (rarely), it’s hard to remember a 3D disc which stretches any further with pop-out effects. Eventually guns, swords, sticks, boards, and even people are thrust into the frame.

Rational use of the format (away from the showmanship) shows a film with exquisite 3D composition, even if the angles are often bizarre from the actor’s feet. Foreground is an essential component, and dirt on the lens is an accident which adds layering. Room and set designers were clearly cognizant of the space they’re presenting. When Comin’ at Ya works, few are better, but it’s a disc fighting against itself. [xrr rating=4/5 label=2D-Video] [xrr rating=3/5 label=3D-Video]

A fresh 5.1 mix is given to the feature. The counterpart is a 2.0 stereo track. Both are DTS-HD. Rear speaker use is small, if used as needed. Piles of objects drop onto the camera, pinging the rears. Gunshots wrap around in open air or fire in the proper surround. Placement is exacting. When Comin’ at Ya needs the help of the subwoofer near the closing moments, the effect is muddled. At least it’s there to assist with some explosions.

Fidelity loss has been kind to Baldi’s feature. Dialog remains crisp and the score bold. Audio condition is better than the print. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]

A highlight reel of 3D effects is simply labeled “promo” in the bonuses. Most of the shots come from the new closing credits sequence. Likewise, a new trailer is offered for this remastered release. No original trailers are included. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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