ACE HIGH is the follow-up to GOD FORGIVES…I DON’T. Though the movie is definitely Terence Hill and Bud Spencer’s, they only get third and fifth billing in the credits. Top billing goes to Eli Wallach as Cacopoulos, a part Greek conman, a man on a mission of revenge. Kevin McCarthy, Drake, gets second though he’s only in the last third of the movie. Fourth goes to Brock Peters, Thomas. a high wore man who’s wife circulates through the audiences collecting tips while he does his act.
The movie opens with the two men, Cat Stevens(Hill) and Hutch Bessey(Spencer) coming into town shortly after the first film, the $300,000 in gold secured from Bill San Antonio, looking to cash in on the reward for the outlaw. Unfortunately they have no proof other than his boots and hat, the rest blown up in an explosion. The banker in town was the one San Antonio had been working with and splitting the payrolls he clued the gang in on so they could steal them. A little visit and a bit of “gentle persuasion” gets them a check, reluctantly, from the banker.
There is a hanging scheduled for the next day. Cacopoulos is the man headed for execution. He’s visited by the banker with a deal for him: kill Cat and hutch and get his money back and all will be forgot. Arrangements were made to break him out, two men coming in the night and knifing the deputy. Cacopoulos is not stupid, slips the deputy’s gun out and shoots down the two men. He’d noticed the knife used to kill the deputy was his, stolen in the fight that had landed him in jail and sentenced to hang.
The story he tells Cat and Hutch later was that three friends and he had held up a bank. As they were fleeing, the other three shoot his horse out from under him and laughingly tell him to hold them off until they can get away and they’ll come back for him. That had been fifteen years ago and he’d just got out of prison a month before, only to be waylaid and set up for a hanging.
Cacopoulos takes care of the banker, steals the three hundred thousand in cash, converted from gold, from Cat and Hutch and rides off laughing.
The trail is not hard to follow. The conman is quite free with their money, dispensing it to needy folks all along the way. The boys end up helping him against one of his betrayers, Paco Rosa(Livio Lorenzon), a self-styled bandit-general fomenting revolution in Mexico. Cat has to enlist a band of outlaws to help Hutch and Cacopoulos when they are to be executed, then forced to flee rather than split the money. Cacopoulos is fond of quoting his Greek grandfather who says”it doesn’t matter how big the loaf is if you have to slice it so then that you still starve.” The guys are tricked once ore when their partner shoots the straps holding their saddles on and they are unseated. “Take care of them,” he shouts are he rides off laughing.
Cacopoulos is going after the third man, Drake, who has become a gambling casino owner in a medium size town. By the time they catch up, Cacopoulos has lost the entire roll in Drakes’s casino. Thomas and his wife are there washing dishes in a restaurant where Cacopoulos has taken a job washing dishes,
But he has a plan to get all their money back and more. He knows something is crooked about the roulette wheel where he lost all the money. Cat anfd Hutch go in undercover where Hutch is gambling and Cat is being observant. He sees possibilities for cheating that lead to them to break in a night and confirm it, using acrobatics to come in from up top and not leave tracks.
The showdown involves Cacopoulos coming in to gamble, while Cat, Hutch, and Michael run the crooked wheel scam. Cacopoulos is late because he felt the need to pick up a prostitute, who drugs and robs him, then he has to scramble to come up with a stake.
The final showdown has the four men facing off against Drake and four men, his perfidies against the town revealed, the good citizens cowering around their feet, waiting for the roulette wheel to stop turn and signal the start of the gun battle.
The film has it’s moments of humor, though nothing on the order of the Trinity films that would cement Hill and Spencer as genuine stars of the genre.
Liked this one.