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J. Lee Thompson
Trish Van Devere,
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pre-Dirty Harry, but still a lesser Italian crime film
I've been watching a lot of these Italian cop flicks recently, but unfortunately; Violent City isn't one of the best. The film was released before Dirty Harry (unlike the rest of the genre), so it does deserve some credit for originality. That's not to say it's bad by any means, but this Charles Bronson vehicle doesn't entertain on the same level as a lot of the rest of the genre. There are certainly a lot of good things about this film; but unfortunately, there's also a lot of bad and the film features long stretches where little or nothing happens, which certainly isn't to its credit. It's a shame really as this has the basis to be one of the best of the Italian crime films just because of the fact that it stars the 'man of few words' Charles Bronson. The plot is pretty standard stuff, and focuses on a hit-man that is double crossed by his friend and girlfriend. After getting out of jail, he decides to take revenge on those that wronged him. However, some way into his revenge; he begins being blackmailed by a powerful crime boss that wants the hit-man in his organisation.
Charles Bronson has a lot of screen presence, despite the fact that this role doesn't really suit him. His character is called 'Jeff' (it's really hard to imagine the grizzled Charles Bronson being called "Jeff"), and it's also rather difficult to imagine him having the women after him... The film's positives are, luckily, enough to save it from being a complete loss. The opening car chase is really good, and provides the perfect opening to the film. From there, we are treated to a handful of good action scenes, including plenty of shooting (a given, since the lead character is a hit-man). The sequence at the end is the best part of the film, as it's both exciting and inventive, and provides the perfect way for our lead character to get his revenge. The support cast isn't great, and features Telly Savalas, who is decent enough and Jill Ireland, who looks nice throughout. However, the plotting continually gets in the way and the fact that the film doesn't run smoothly greatly hinders it. Overall, Violent City certainly has its moments; but it's not one of the best crime films to come out of Italy during the seventies.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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