The Spikes Gang (1974)

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Richard Fleischer directs Lee Marvin, Gary Grimes and Ron Howard in this revisionist western following three farmboys who try to emulate the life and crimes of a violent but charismatic bank robber they cross paths with. 

Standard product that tries to be as palatable for the kids as The Cowboys was, while still somehow wanting to match the grit and tragedy of The Wild Bunch. It manages neither, struggling to walk the same path as the superior Bad Company. The loss of innocence is effecting, the robberies have an inept shock to them, and Marvin’s untrustworthy fairy godmother figure is surface level alluring. Just as you’d expect from one of the dying genre’s last true stars, he makes the best impression in a role that might as well have been tailored for his magnificent presence. But even if you are a fan of his and the form, this is often merely workable at best.

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