After a bloody double-cross leaves him for dead, professional hit man Jeff tracks the shooter and his beautiful mistress to New Orleans. But when Jeff takes both revenge and the woman, he finds himself blackmailed by a powerful crime boss who wants the fiercely independent gunman to join his organization. Jeff refuses, and is hunted through an unforgiving city where love is like a loaded gun and debts of vengeance are paid in bullets. Written by
Edwin van Oorschot <email@example.com>
In the shooting scene after Coogan and Vanessa left in the Porsche, the P08 Luger, with which Jeff kills his three pursuers, is seen at one moment in a take from behind with the breech opened (magazine empty) and in the very next moment in a take from the front with the breech closed (pistol loaded). This continuity-error is about ten minutes into the movie, in a scene where Jeff lies in the sand and shoots the last attacker on the other side of the burning car. See more »
Charles Bronson at his best? In a way yes, but maybe no. I guess it all depends in what you want to see. An all out action film, moving like a speeding car (in which the opening sequence ---and what a beginning it is! --- has a beautifully staged car chase through the slender streets of the Virgin Islands) and throwing caution to the wind. Well that would be a no on that aspect. However something a little twisty within its narrative, tension building through its dramatic story developments and brooding atmospherics with a watershed performance by Bronson. I would go yes.
After a double-cross that leaves him for dead, professional hit man Jeff survives and serves some time before tracking down the culprit - an old friend and his former mistress to New Orleans. Jeff gets revenge and his lady back, but he finds himself being blackmailed by an influential crime boss Al Weber.
Bronson at this period of his career was etching out a name through European productions and "Violent City" aka "The Family" happens to be one of those better enterprises. Italian director Sergio Sollima ("The Big Gundown", "Run, Man, Run" and "Revolver") stylishly lays out the rough and ready groundwork like a fuse waiting to ignite. The slow-tempo works, due to the plots knotty structure of betrayals and double-crossings with slice of tragedy in something of a modern western vibe and these moments are either broken up by reflective instances (like splicing together flashbacks), getting reactions in a game of wits between characters or relentlessly dynamic and imaginative action sequences. Sollima's crisp cinematography frames it all with remarkable long shots and showy camera angles, as the visuals are simply stunning and the location work is brought live by its authentically flavoured New Orleans backdrop. Ennio Morricone composes the scorching music score, which is excitingly cued with its majestically saucy edge but despite the masterful effort I thought the greatest sequences arose from the silent periods in the intensely crackling opening spectacle and climatic finale passage of the film (which was beautifully unsettling). The tight screenplay keeps it sly and cynical, but at the core behind its engagingly complicated plot mechanisms is a simple minded, but seething revenge outlook. The acting fairs-up with more of a physical, but terse performance by Bronson, which his silent and tough persona fitted right at home with. There's burning conviction by Jill Ireland with her tantalizingly devious turn and Terry Savalas is living it up as a powerful crime figure. Umberto Orsini and Michel Constantin are quite good too.
A gritty, compelling crime potboiler.
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