AKA-THE KIDNAPING OF MARY LOU, THE DEATH DEALER, MILANO ODIA:LA POLIZIA NON PUO SPARAE.
REVIEWED BY-STEVE GENIER DIRECTED BY-UMBERTO LENZI CAST-TOMAS MILIAN, HENRY SILVA, ANITA STRINDBERG, LAURA BELLI, GINO SANTERCOLE, GUIDO ALBERTI and RAY LOVELOCK. SOURCE-NO SHAME DVD (NTSC R0/2005)
After shooting and killing a cop during a botched bank heist, small time thief Giulio Sacchi (Tomas Milian) is beaten and kicked out of the involved crime ring. While visiting his girlfriend (Anita Strindberg), he figures out a perfect "big score" involving his girlfriendís bossesí daughter (Laura Belli). After being treated as scum and a no good loser, he is determined to show everybody that his much better then they are. Rounding up a couple of friends (Gino Santercole and Ray Lovelock) to work with him, he explains that there are going to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy businessman who is sure to pay top dollars for her safe return. Of course the psychopathic mind of Giulio has something else worked out. After staking out a possible perfect situation to snatch Mary Lou. They follow her to a remote area where she and her boyfriend are making out in their car. Surrounding the car, they grab Mary Lou and Giulio shoots and kills her boyfriend. She escapes running off to a nearby home, where soon after her three captures follow. There, they discover a family and decide to further the ante of destruction by terrorizing them and later killing them including a young boy. As the final details of the plan are set into motion, Inspector Grandi (Henry Silva) is more determined to catch these blood thirsty murders before they kill again.
ALMOST HUMAN is certainly one of the most violent Italian crime films that actual display all the right elements to back up itís pure viciousness. Starting with a completely raw and uncensored performance from one of the genreís meanest actors, Tomas Milian. Surely one of his best offerings to date, one that he himself finds or defines as a pinnacle to his career. Twisting every boundary in human emotions, Milian gives a razor sharp showcasing of quick change. From mister nice guy to the complete psychopath, his range is laid all out in his character of small time crook Giulio Sacchi. There have been several films that I have seen where these elements have been used by him before, but this character is certainly the one that taught the rest. Thereís no doubt in my mind that he drew from this character to feed his classic character of Nico Giraldi when working with director Bruno Corbucci. Though not as violent in areas that Sacchi was, his ability to quick change emotions along with actions are all there. In ALMOST HUMAN, you simply see Milian like you have never seen him before, and loads of credit for that comes from Umberto Lenzi who has the ability to twist even the most normal of situations. Still, Lenzi only had a small influence in this character, it was certainly a majority of Milianís great ability to ad lib.
Right from the get go, you are treated to a super slick car chase that sets the pace and tone of ALMOST HUMAN. There is no room for boredom here, as Lenzi certainly pulls out all the heavy guns to booster a solid storyline and plot. Touching on some very sensitive areas, especially during the home invasion where there is not only heavy tones of exploitation and nudity, but the brutal death of a small child. Something the censors would normally have a hay day with and have Lenzi cut. Though the scene is not graphic by any means, itís just the notion of such innocence being senselessly slaughtered at the hands of a madman. When asked about this, Milian did have trouble with the scene, but decided to do it anyhow. Once again, it was only a film. Still, with the heavy situations pulled off in ALMOST HUMAN, Lenzi also pulls out all the goods with the great casting around Milan. Starting with Henry Silva. Now, what canít be said about this generally casted bad guy turned good. The manís face is a sign of impending doom. In this case, Silvaís target, the wraith of Milian. Silvaís role isnít a juicy one, but his presence is certainly one that only helps an already solid film. A classic showdown between two classic Italian crime figures indeed.
Along with Silva is the casting of one of Milianís best friends Ray Lovelock who at the moment was pretty much the new guy on the scene. Only a handful of films under his belt, he plays the sympathetic Carmine. Who after awhile sees Giulioís mean streak taking a bad turn. What would this film be without the likes of a few good women in the cast, for starters one canít complain about the always beautiful Anita Strindberg. The Swedish bombshell looks as delectable as Milianís love interest Iona. She is just the beginning as we are also treated to the likes of Laura Belli who likes quite intriguing, though not quite as in Viscontiís THE NUN OF MONZA. Lenzi really knows how to beef up the goods and deliver them too. The sounds of ALMOST HUMAN are as effective as the visuals especially with a classic score from the man himself, Ennio Morricone. This however isnít like the usual sounds he pumps out, this score has total balls. Right in youíre face, the straight forward tour de force goods are delivered with a heavy bang, fitting the filmís main character and storyline.
What can one say about this amazing release from No Shame Films that hasnít already been said? Once again they have taken immense steps into bringing us a superb fan friendly DVD release. Starting with an extremely clean wide-screen (2.35:1) print, especially for an Italian crime film that may only have a cult following at best. Of course no great picture would be complete without a decent audio partnership either. Presented in itís original Italian 2.0 digital mono with removable English subtitles or in English 2.0 digital mono, either or you make the choice they are both quite reasonable. Though the feature is certainly the main attraction here, itís surely not the only one either. Decked out with two extensive features, one that spans 35 minutes long and showcases interviews with Umberto Lenzi, Ray Lovelock, Ernesto Gastaldi and Gino Santercole. The second feature and my highlight being a 20 odd minute interview with the man himself Tomas Milian. This guy still has the wit and humor he did back in the day. Certainly was interesting listening to him chat it up about his love scene with Anita Stridberg and here little problem with her nipple. There are also trailers, photo galleries and collectable booklet along with this release. This is certainly a must for any Italian crime fan and a great start for those who are just starting out in this great genre!
STORY/FILM- 4 BITCH SLAPS PICTURE- 4 BITCH SLAPS AUDIO- 3 BITCH SLAPS EXTRAS- 4 BITCH SLAPS OVERALL DVD-4 BITCH SLAPS
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