I love Lenzi's gialli offerings, or at least the one's I have experiences! I still need to see KNIFE OF ICE and A QUIET PLACE TO KILL. SPASMO and EYEBALL are some of my more favorite gialli viewings. Two very stylish yet, odd in nature but still very effective in the payoff!
It's been a long time since I first seen his SO SWEET... SO PERVERSE (1969), was that not just recently issued on DVD again??
I absolutely loved Freda's brilliant I VAMPRI! Now, what was the deal with Bava being uncredited for with this again? I know he had something to do with the overall direction, but what's the full story on that again?
Any opinions about this more recent giallo? I've heard some bad things but when I found it dirt cheap on eBay, I couldn't resist the temptation of picking it up. Figured I need to give some of the more recent horrer/thriller stuff a chance too. Still waiting for it to arrive and I'm not quite sure what to expect of it but at least it has a pretty good cast that includes famous transsexual Eva Robins from TENEBRAE (1982) and the good-looking Elisabetta Rocchietti, who has been cropping up in a lot of horror stuff like THE THREE FACES OF TERROR (2004), DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK? (2005) and THE LAST HOUSE IN THE WOODS (2006). Not to mention supporting roles by Florinda Bolkan and Franco Nero! Anyone here seen it?
Interesting looking film out of Italy with Irish/Spanish co-financiers. Directed by Italian SFX man Stefano Bessoni.
In the 1600s, long before the invention of photography, a scientist named Girolamo Fumagalli was obsessed with the idea of reproducing images. He discovered that by killing a victim and removing the victim's eyeballs, it was possible to reproduce on paper the last image imprinted on that person's retinas. He named this technique 'thanatography'. Today, the same kind of gruesome ritual and abominable crime recurs within the walls of an international school of cinema. -imdb.com
Also stars the daughter of Charlie Chapman, Geraldine Chaplin as well as her daughter Oona.
Well, it seems this is yet another Argento flick that is taking a beating in the review department. Even die hard fans are not too pleased with this outing. Anyhow, the PAL R2 DVD is now out via a Polish company that found it important to force the Polish subs!
Looks like this will be getting a UK release first via Arrow Films! I still haven't seen this, it was on my radar during last year's Midnight Madness during the Toronto Film Fest. The disc will be released March 15th..
Il Giustiziere Sfida La Città aka Rambo’s Revenge/Syndicate Sadists
Il Giustiziere Sfida La Città aka Rambo’s Revenge/Syndicate Sadists
(1975 / Italy)
Review By-Paul Cooke Director : Umberto Lenzi Starring : Tomas Milian, Joseph Cotten, Maria Fiore, Mario Piave, Luciano Catenacci, Femi Benussi, Guido Alberti, Silvano Tranquilli,Shirley Corrigan & Luciano Pigozzi Source : Greek PAL VHS / Rex Films Home Video / Full Screen / English Dubbed With Greek Subtitles
‘‘It’s my script and I know all the lines. Now, you want me to start killing off characters, or you going to give me the dialogue as read !?’’
Tomas Milian is Rambo, an unshaven, dishevelled one man force of nature primed to be let loose upon the unrepentant bad elements of humanity. Astride his two wheeled steely stallion he appears on the horizon, and drives into Milan, a city he knows well but has been away from for six months. He returns to a hostile environment where crime is rife, and the police force are overwhelmed by the magnitude of Milan’s miscreant activists.
Rambo’s unkempt personage, hidden under woollen headwear and well worn leather jacket, enables him to visit his friend Pino Scalia. Scalia lives with his wife and son in an apartment block in the less affluent part of Milan. An honest man who works hard to care for his family, and who strives for a better life for them away from the concerns of growing crime. He has enlisted in an organised private police force, a citizens crime fighting fraternity born out of public despair at the escalating level of malignant crime in Milan.
Rambo is a street wise self preservationist, evidently with a past that has involved training in many areas of policing, protection and covert operations. His Karate skills are immediately displayed in hand to hand combat as Scalia introduces his friend to a training session with his fellow private force officers. Rambo’s personalised style is more than a match for several antagonists at once. Scalia introduces Rambo to his boss and recommends his friend as the perfect recruit, but Rambo is a loner and declines such interest.
The private police force has been commissioned to protect an industrialists factory and fleet of delivery trucks. Targeted by the crime families cargo is being lifted with regularity. Scalia talks Rambo into joining them on a protective run, and so he rides shotgun in the passenger seat of one of the trucks. It is not long before they fall foul to a road block trap and are flame bottled by two attackers. Scalia and his colleagues surprise the goons though, who speed off in their car, only to be met with the determined vestige of a motorcycle straddled Rambo in the rear view mirror of their vehicle. Flying out the back of the truck, full throttle, Rambo is in pursuit. It’s a fuel injected Seventies chase that follows and rewardingly ends in smart justice delivered by Tomas Milian’s character, to the delight of his friend Scalia and fellow officers, who eventually catch up to collar the beleaguered bad guys.
A well to do doctor is helpless to assist his young son as he witnesses his abduction outside the front gates to his home. The family driver is callously shot dead as the boy is stolen away. A ransom for the boys safe return is soon set, and the doctor and his wife are instructed not to involve the police or they will never see their son alive again. The organised private police force pick up on the news and Scalia uncovers who is responsible for the kidnapping. Scalia’s investigations lead him to the Conti family, one of the two criminal organisations that hold Milan in a vice like grip of illegal subservience. His snooping around, however, attracts attention. Rambo receives a telephone call from his friend, who seeks his help. Rambo tells Scalia to contact the cities true police force as a highly dangerous operation. Before Scalia can get conclusive evidence back to headquarters he is attacked and killed by Conti’s men.
Leaving a wife and son alone in the world to fend for themselves Rambo seeks revenge. He knows all too well who is responsible for the death of his friend Pino Scalia, and he sets about infiltrating the two gangs. Paying a visit to the other criminal family head Paternò, as played by Joseph Cotten, in a role that has him looking as if he is embalmed, Rambo offers a deal for Paternò to gain an advantage over his competitor Conti. What plays out of course is a Seventies crime flick scenario of the eponymous Akira Kurosawa movie ‘Yojimbo’, perhaps more universally recognised through Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western reinterpretation as ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’.
Throw in Tomas Milian’s own interesting use of Rambo as his character and the combination of Action classic themes make this a great exploitive genre winning formula in its own right. Apparently Milian got the idea for using the name Rambo while filming in America. Whilst at the airport he picked up a cheap novel entitled ‘First Blood’. The idea of a loner with a special forces background appealed to Milian and working the character into the Dashiel Hammett written work of ‘Red Harvest’, which was the book translation to screenplay for, ‘Yojimbo’ and ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’, Milian had the conceptive structure for screenplay writer Vincenzo Mannino to work from. Together with Director Umberto Lenzi, ‘IL Giustiziere Sfida La Città’ hit screens in 1975, some seven years before the character Rambo, as we truly identify and love him, appeared in the guise of Sylvester Stallone in ‘First Blood’ (1982). Putting his foot into the door of crime Rambo starts dispensing his own brand of justice against all those so deserving. Coolly delivering dialogue as a pre sentence to applicable punishment Tomas Milian is on top form, and under the directorial guidance of Umberto Lenzi this is another excellent example of true grit, politically incorrect, Seventies crime Action drama at its most enjoyable.
There are many well choreographed moments of violent Action. Rambo standing his ground in a back street café against two heavies, as flick knife goes up against pool cue. Milian showing quite clearly he is not afraid to predominantly stand in for his own stunt man in the Action scenes, here racking up the hits as he pots the bad guys with a superior cuing action. Stirring up the rival gangs Rambo steps in to rescue the kidnapped boy. Joseph Cotton’s character, Paternò, aware that they are being played by Rambo, sets about taking control of the spiralling out of control events. He calls a truce with rival gang boss Conti, and together they agree to take Rambo out of the game. The low life hired help scum assault and beat Rambo’s lady friend Flora to her death, and then set a trap for Rambo to kill him off. Rambo is not easily killed though, and employing his superior instinct for survival outwit’s the gangs and sets about ending the city rule of both Conti and Paternò permanently. Rambo goes rogue !.
The sheer grittiness, and at times down right dogged and dirty tone of the time, is captured perfectly on camera. Perhaps best summed up in delivered dialogue by Tomas Milian himself when Rambo spouts, ‘‘Life is just a hole. You start from a hole, you feed yourself through a hole, you shit from a hole, you finish up in a hole !’’. As proceedings race towards a violent conclusion there is a scene of pure Spaghetti Western inspired genius that plays out at a secluded stone built house. Rambo cleverly picks off the opposition under the cover of night, right through until daybreak where the advantage swings back in favour of the bad guys. Rambo’s war is not over until he can secure the safety of the kidnapped young boy !. Armed with his unsanctioned flat head bullets, accurately blazing out from his hand gun to obliterate upon contact, he deftly dispenses of all obstacles foolish enough to get in his way with a body splattering bloody bang.
This is the epitome of all that was great about the Seventies crime flicks, unapologetic violence, realistic car chases and edge of the seat one take stunts, scene chewing actors and a psychotropic soundtrack to blend it all together. The combined talents of Milian and Lenzi once again kick corruptions collective ass, and Seventies Action Crime Cinema was never so arresting.