‘Three Amigos’ Review: Is it the Rock Bottom of John Landis’ Career? | LightTrain

Ola’! I’m the conductor of the train and today we’re looking at Three Amigos, directed by John Landis and released in 1986 by HBO productions. Before this film, Landis had been a great comedic talent in the filmmaking buisness, working on such classics of the genre as National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London. Does Three Amigos hope up to those standards with the comedic aid of Steve Martin and Lorne Michaels? Let’s watch it and find out: This is the Lighttrain’s in-depth review of Three Amigos, Let’s get this show on the road!

The story follows a trio of bumbling silent film stars; Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms and Ned Nederlander, who are the leads of the popular film serial The Three Amigos. Recently let go by the series’ studio, they venture off to Santo Poco, Mexico after receiving the telegram of the hopeful Carmen, the daughter of the village monarch. Carmen has mistakenly believed the roles factual and anticipates the actors will fend off the ransacking crook El Guapo whom had been terrorizing her town; In turn, the actors think that Carmen has hired them for a lucrative film deal. Will the actors manage to overcome the truth and manage the courage to defeat El Guapo’s cartel?

Before we dive into the review, I want to thank my friend and passenger Lord Vocem of Beyond for suggesting this film; If you want to suggest a movie for me to review, go ahead and email me or comment below your pick. Now, let’s go over an element that distracted my experience in a less than stellar way, which would be the backgrounds/locations. This is somewhat of a Western so complaining about the bland set design may sound a bit ridiculous; So, to prove my point, I have a few examples to share. First, Once Upon a Time in the West, which has many different shades of orange and yellows as well as colorful clothing and elements. Back to the Future Part III also had variety when it came to certain places. Three Amigos was an overload of brown and it translates that the country the movie takes place in isn’t very exciting, just bland.

But color variation is not much more than a nitpick, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. The acting is well-done for its part and they encapsulated the film’s mood as well. No one was doing a sub par job but no one was raising the bar either. Some jokes are crafted with amusing precision but not much of them were real hard-hitters, since the hardest laugh it squeezed out of me was a delighted chuckle from a gag involving Mexican food. Now, this could be an issue for comedies when too much jokes failed to stir up a laugh but usually ones that’s jokes never botch up consistently I’ll give it a pass.

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Another kinda-issue I had involved the villain, El Guapo. Before I get off on the wrong foot, I’m totally cool with films making entertaining antagonists, but they should still be threatening and pose a legitimate threat to our heros. Three Amigos doesn’t do that, making him a joke. That sounds alright on paper making the opposing sides equally buffoonish but that ultimately leads the three amigos overcoming themselves to defeat him not feel as earned. Additionally, the climactic defeat scene takes place at El Guapo’s birthday celebration and they show it more than probably necessary. So much so that you actually feel sympathetic for him; like “Oh, he got a sweater! Good for him.” . I’m most likely overanalyzing this slapstick comedy, aren’t I?

In the end, John Landis has done worse than this. It’s harmless and watchable enough, even if the laugh count doesn’t reach much heights. The performances and almost a Holy Grail sensibility elevate the picture to it’s current reappraisal. Some decisions are messier than desired, but almost in a Sloppy Joe sorta way: A very enjoyable experience despite the dripping nitpicks. Not bad at all.

RATING: 6/10 “Enjoyable, though sloppy”

Passengers who Punched a Ticket

  • Adhdlifeforever
  • Todd Russel
  • Cnowak
  • Bob
  • Lordvocemofbeyond (Special thanks!)
  • Simple Ula
  • Matt
  • Cathy
  • AllSuperInfo
  • The Ebook Way
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  • Eric Kaster
  • The Godly Chic Diaries
  • My Life in Our Fathers World (all apologies!)
  • Saania Sparkle
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  • Markgtr
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  • Sumit Official
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  • Sam

Thank you for 50! ~Cheers 😀

NEXT | Every Pixar Film Reviewed Volume 1

12 thoughts on “‘Three Amigos’ Review: Is it the Rock Bottom of John Landis’ Career? | LightTrain

    1. Yeah, I watch old commercials as a hobby and 80s HBO has some quality ads, including that ‘Our Feature Presentation’ bumper. Next time I might use an advert from ABC Family or Early-90s Sci-Fi Channel.

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      1. I LOVED the pony-tailed chick with the black suit on that would introduce Friday nights on Sci-Fi when the line-up was Poltergeist: The Legacy, Farscape, Sliders and First Wave. God, I miss those days.

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  1. I guess the only way you could like this, is if it grows on you from having your grandpa play it every time you see him, ever since you could walk, and having him laugh at every cringe-worthy joke. Even things you wouldn’t know to be funny, he’d be cracking up. Slowly and slower, it’ll grow on you, ’till eventually, you too start laughing every second.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed reading this Gavin. You made me smile and laugh. I’ve read reviews before that bored me to tears. Not yours. I like how you roll. Take care, stay safe and keep being you. You’re doing it so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was babysitter VHS go-to material for me as a kid, so I saw over a dozen times, memorized it, and still have a nostalgic connection to it. Yes, it’s stupid, but I compare it to the more vulgar, raunchy, and shock-before-setup filth we see in comedies today, and I say The Three Amigos is a “good ole days” gem with hits and misses, and it’s the fastest 100 minutes of any comedy I’ve seen. A good memory for me…even now.

    Liked by 1 person

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