3-D restoration of ‘Comin’ at Ya!’ falls short

Alex Williams

When “Comin’ at Ya!” was released back in 1981, its 3D presentation probably left something to be desired. It only makes sense that early 3D films would be restored, thanks to modern technology and the current 3D craze. Unfortunately, “Comin’ At Ya!” isn’t much more than a relic of a time gone by, and much of its charms come from the film itself, rather than the barrage of 3D the audience is subjected to.

After opening with an awesome, 3D-heavy credits scene, we’re thrown right into the continuing adventures of Hart (Tony Anthony), a rogue gunslinger trying to save his new bride (Vicoria Abril) from a pair of brothers (Gene Quintano and Ricardo Palacios) with bad intentions for the young lass.

As a film, “Comin’ at Ya!” is a pretty entertaining spaghetti western, and a fairly classical example of why that genre is so beloved to begin with. It paints its characters as broad archetypes, and director Ferdinando Baldi works in some distinct, memorable imagery along with a few strikingly composed shots. Unfortunately, the film is a bit overlong, even at only 91 minutes, and could stand to lose some of its runtime.

Unfortunately, the film is also built around its weakest aspect — the 3D gimmickry. Lots of shots have actors reaching into the camera, their hands slowly filling the frame and reaching out at the audience, or objects pushed abruptly towards the screen, and it makes for a somewhat exhausting experience. Some of the 3D doesn’t flow quite right, and some images occasionally have ghosts surrounding them in the frame — half-defined eyesores that take you out of the film. However, when the film manages to keep the objects from literally comin’ at ya and lets the imagery speak for itself rather than being jutted towards the screen, it often makes for some impressive visual work.

“Comin’ At Ya!” seems like an odd choice for a 3D revival, with its dated aesthetics and gimmicky presentation, but it also makes perfect sense for those exact reasons. It’s the film equivalent of thrift store shopping, looking through old stuff hoping you might find something cool that appeals to your modern sensibilities. While some parts of “Comin’ at Ya!” are undeniably entertaining, pulpy and mythic in all the best ways, too much of its presentation is gaudy, overcooked and ultimately best left in the dusty closet where it came from.