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Fourteen-year-old Tolly Devlin sees four hoods beat his father to death. Twenty years later, the killers have risen to the top of the crime syndicate and Tolly has a plan for revenge. Written by
Erik Gregersen <email@example.com>
From its brisk opening, this dark and seamy underworld drama moves like a well-oiled machine, laying out and glorifying Cliff Robertson's revenge tactics to punish the men who killed his father.
Not unlike John Boorman's "Point Blank" which also featured an almost cyborg-natured Lee Marvin punishing the bigshot criminal overlords who did him wrong, here the pursuit is more humanized but suffers no slack as Robertson gives an extraordinary performance.
With a glinty-eyed, crooked smile and a gleeful look which seems to creep into his face as he torments his victims, Robertson suggests a little of Mel Gibson's instability in the first "Lethal Weapon", but without the looniness. His more understated moments are not only very realistic, but are the epitome of cool. Robertson can definitely smoke cigarettes better than anybody.
Fuller's direction is taut, featuring plenty of creative cinematography and a lot of sequences which are far more ahead of their time than the majority of crime films being made around 1961. As always, Fuller manages to tell his story with both hysteria and pathos. This is definitely a must-see for fans of Don Siegel's work or the crime films of Phil Karlson and Anthony Mann. "Underworld USA" could very well share a double bill with John Flynn's "The Outfit" as well. Superb stuff.
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