The gunfights are many and some are highly stylized in the Italian tradition (i.e. one man cutting down four or five opponents with an incredibly fast draw and fanning action), one man suffers castration by gunshot, several are blown to smithereens and even the horses are rigged with blood squibs.
But there's comedy as well, and the laughs are usually on the bad guys, especially when a band of hooded, torch-carrying slave-trackers are impeded because they're having trouble seeing where they're going due to the crudely-fashioned masks covering their faces.
The cast is loaded with familiar faces (Bruce Dern, Don Johnson, Michael Parks, Rex Linn) in roles large and small, but the standouts, of course, are Waltz, with that sharklike smile that's at once chilling and winning, and Foxx as the stalwart hero, almost single-handedly and inadvertently preventing the War between the States, all in the name of love.
And the music that accompanies the mayhem is imaginative, as always, with James Brown and 2Pac belting “Unchained,” Jim Croce crooning “I Got a Name” and plenty of orchestral grandeur from Ennio Morricone himself.
Tarantino finally got to make his spaghetti Western, threw in some painful U.S. history to boot, plus a passel of subversive laughs, and he got all the seasonings just right.
— Gene Triplett
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