"By 1970, John Wayne had his Oscar in his pocket and Rio Lobo on some inspection looks like just a lot of good, clean fun he and the cast decided to have, with no particular regard for making cinematic history. The plot rambles and has some implausabilities-like why does the Duke, who plays a Yankee, go home to Blackthorne, Texas? And Jorge Rivero as a Confederate officer takes some getting used to. Same thing, different reason, with Jennifer O'Neill. She seems too contemporary for a historic setting and her acting is questionable. However, by dogies, she is just so beautiful (and one of the hottest actresses in demand in the early 70's) that she can be forgiven for any dramatic failings.
One of the strengths of the film is the Duke's self-deprecating humor is in fine display, and so is John Wayne himself. Chisum, which was made about this time, is a better film in my estimation, but Mr. Wayne is practically relegated to a supporting player in it. In Rio Lobo he is in almost every scene and that alone makes it a pleasure to watch. Jack Elam hams it up and David Huddleston adds a nice touch of comedy. Trivia buffs will enjoy Sherri Lansing (future studio head) in the near buff and George Plimpton, fresh off his Paper Tiger days, getting a bit role as a short-lived bad guy.
As for improving the movie, it suffers because the death of the lieutenant, which is the main motivating force for Wayne's character to go after the bad guys, is little seen by the audience. We need to connect with this guy so we feel strongly that justice must be done. This character should have been played by a well-known actor in a cameo role. An obvious choice would have been Patrick Wayne. Then the audience would know the character even though their presence onscreen is brief and make a stronger emotional connection with them. Another thing is the sheriff of Rio Lobo is supposed to be a really mean hombre, but we don't have enough scenes with him to establish this. At the very least, a scene should be added where he brutally questions the Sherri Lansing character and scars her. It wouldn't have to be graphic-just enough to once again emotionally connect with the audience.
Mr. Wayne's DVDs are not getting the attention that his fans deserve! George Plimpton had a television special on making Rio Lobo-this should be an extra included. And, my gosh, The Alamo had 500,000 feet of film shot-some by John Ford. What do we get in bonus material? ZIP! NADA! JACKSQUAT! C'mon Hollywood, this is THE most important film actor of the 20th Century! Get off yer duffs and find this stuff. This is HISTORY!"
Haven't we seen this story before?
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 05/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rio Lobo is a good John Wayne western that borrows from several of his previous movies. The story is about a Union colonel trying to find out who the traitor was in his unit that sold information about gold shipments to Confederate guerillas. Along the way he helps a town escape the wrath of a rich landowner and a corrupt sheriff. The story may seem similar, but this still is a very entertaining movie. What John Wayne movie isn't? The story blends action and story together in this exciting western. The Duke is great once again as Cord McNally, the Union colonel in pursuit of traitors. Jorge Rivero is awkward as Pierre "Frenchy" Cordona, the Confederate guerilla who helps Wayne. I don't know whether it is actually Rivero talking or someone dubbing his lines in, but it just sounds funny. Joining them are Jennifer O'Neill, Christopher Mitchum, Jack Elam, and Victor French. Elam is great as usual in his role as the eccentric old man in the town. The DVD has a good widescreen presentation that looks cleaned up compared to the one shown on TBS. Otherwise, there isn't any extras added on. This was Howard Hawks last western, and he made a good one. Good story and exciting action. Deserves a watch if nothing else for those who haven't seen this late Duke western!"
Very interesting and authentic....hardcore John Wayne
Vincent H. Hoyt | Corry, Pennsylvania United States | 07/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is hardcore John Wayne at his finest, and terribly authentic. The movie begins with Union Colonel Wayne nervous (with good reason) about a gold shipment during the latter stages of the civil war. He is only nervous about sending it through territory where he knows the famous 1st Louisiana Cavalry is lurking. What follows is absolutely the greatest train robbery in movie history in my opinion. You are left breathless when the hornet nest is sent flying into the boxcar holding the gold. Then John Wayne picks up the chase. Great photography, and it posesses all the ear marks of a Wayne-Hawks western. The plot later in the movie follows along the same lines as previous Wayne-Hawks classics "Rio Bravo" and "Eldorado". Do yourself a favor and add this one to your western collection."
If you've seen "El Dorado" and "Rio Bravo", you've basically
coachtim | Indiana, United States | 12/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not that it's bad, of course. Fans of the Duke will want to add "Rio Lobo" to their collection because it's classic John Wayne stuff. This time, the Duke is a Yankee Colonel who attempts to track down a pair of Union traitors responsible for the theft of Union gold shipments during the Civil Was and ultimately, the death of a Yankee Lieutenant who was like a son to Wayne's character in the movie. Along the way, he is aided by a pair of Rebs (Jorge Rivero and Chris Mitchum) and beautiful Jennifer O'Neill. The quartet find themselves facing overwhelming odds (don't they always?) as they attempt to get the bad guy, while at the same time helping the oppressed citizens of Rio Lobo.
Director Howard Hawks sticks to his tried-and-true (and successful) formula and puts together a fast-moving, action-filled film. OK, so the acting (especially poor Jennifer O'Neill) is stilted, but viewers of this film didn't go to it (or get the DVD) because they were looking for Oscar calibre' performances.
It's pure Duke with copious amounts of gunfire, self-depreciating humor and great Western scenery. The film score ranks with some of the best work done by Jerry Goldsmith. Hawks uses his patented clipped dialogue to keep the plot moving. The supporting cast, including Victor French, Mike Henry, David Huddleston and Western veterans Jim Davis and Jack Elam, are great components to the film.
If you enjoyed any of the aforementioned Duke classics, then you'll enjoy "Rio Lobo""
A Great Train Robbery; Good-Shooter Women, etc.
Jan Peczkis | Chicago IL, USA | 08/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first part of this western is relatively unique; the second part is commonplace in John Wayne movies. The latter contains such themes as shootouts between posses of good and bad guys, a trade of kidnapped men (the bad guys' boss for Frenchie), and heavy drinking. In fact, McNally (Wayne) has this comment about a drink: "Boy, this stuff ain't for the young!"
The train robbery is creatively portrayed. A group of Confederate guerillas, evidently tipped off about a transport of gold, tap-in into a telegraph wire, and thereby correctly infer which train is going to carry the gold. Then they set up a trap: They grease a section of railway so that the targeted train will stall for lack of traction. Once this happens, they come out of hiding and ambush the train. They throw a bag of bees into a train compartment in order to put the men inside out of action and to force them to jump out of the train. Finally, they detach the gold-bearing wagon from the rest of the train, and steer it to a prearranged place where it can be ground to a halt and stripped of its gold-bearing chest.
Those who feel that westerns ignore women or always place them in passive roles will like this film. There are two women who are good with guns, and who put them to use when the men won't do their jobs to secure justice for them. One of the men gives a form of respect to one of these women: "She's got legs and she can shoot!" "