A live-action version of a popular French cartoon, LUCKY LUKE sends up westerns with a combination of slapstick, strange editing and, ultimately, a pervading silliness that dominates the proceedings.
After a quick history of how the West was won--complete with a peace treaty signed by Indians to permit US expansion--Daisy Town springs up. It's a rough-and-tumble place until Lucky Luke (Terrence Hill) and his horse Jolly Jumper (Roger Miller)--who serves as the film's narrator--hit town. Luke
quickly cleans up the town, which proves bad for the once bustling saloon and undertaker businesses.
Luke's police work causes such an influx at the Arizona territorial prison that the four Dalton brothers get an early release. Pretending to be Indians, the Daltons rob a hat trader, but are soon caught wearing face paints by real Indians. They save their lives with a stirring speech about the
evils of American imperialism.
When comely saloon keeper Lotta Legs (Nancy Morgan) suggests Luke ease up on enforcing the law, the cowboy rides off and discovers an Indian pow-wow at which, egged on by the Daltons, an attack on Daisy Town is urged. Luke alerts Daisy Town, and the population braces for attack. As the Indians
approach, their leader, Chief Prairie Dog (Dave Thomas), has a change of heart and calls off the raid, leaving the Daltons in hot water. While he meets with Lucky Luke and they agree to call the whole raid off, the cavalry arrives. With peace at hand, the Indians leave and Luke has a gunfight with
the Daltons. Luke wins, and the Dalton's are tarred, feathered, and sent back to prison. When Lotta asks if he'll stay in town, Luke remarks that he never stays in one place. He gives her some flowers and rides off into the sunset with Jolly Jumper.
In its original cartoon form, Morris and Goscinny's creation has a simple charm that allows readers to suspend disbelief. This film translation aims at farce, but doesn't have the gags, the plotting, or the pacing to make it work. There are brief flashes of inspiration. A jazz score breaks at an
unlikely moment, and editing gags, comprised of modern-day footage, create a funny temporal dissonance. But these flashes of wit aren't enough, and LUCKY LUKE fizzles where that classic western send-up BLAZING SADDLES (1974) burned. (Violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: PG
- Review: A live-action version of a popular French cartoon, LUCKY LUKE sends up westerns with a combination of slapstick, strange editing and, ultimately, a pervading silliness that dominates the proceedings. After a quick history of how the West was won--complete… (more)