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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not as it may seem!

Author: floyd-27 (dalton@iinet.net.au) from Australia
25 October 1999

If you have ever seen the title "Cauldron of Death" in your horror section, and it has the same cover or close to it as what's seen on this page, you are in for a definite surprise!

This is actually a very well made crime/revenge flick starring Chris Mitchum as Ricco. Who upon release from prison delves back into the underworld to seek revenge for his Mafia Chief fathers murder.

A great soundtrack and a hell wad of violence makes this a real winner for Italo/Crime buffs

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great Italian crime thriller.

7/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
19 October 2003

Rico Aversi(Christopher Mitchum)is the son of a murdered mafia chief,who is slowly engulfed by a world of forgery and drugs in order to avenge his father's slaying.His adversary,Don Vito(an excellent Arthur Kennedy,who never achieved the recognition he deserved),is cruel,vicious and has years of gangland experience on his side.Here is a battle of wits,blood and violence that ends in a powerful and dramatic climax."Mean Machine" is a memorable Italian crime thriller.It has wall-to-wall nudity(supplied by Malisa Longo and Barbara Bouchet),plenty of gunplay and some nasty bits of gore for example the castration scene.The film is pretty hard to find,but you should search for it.My rating:7 out of 10.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A tale of revenge, sleaze and soap.

7/10
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece
9 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Christopher Mitchum is Ricco, a pretty boy with a blonde fringe fresh out of prison who sets out to avenge the death of his father, who was murdered 2 years ago in by his competitor in the Italian mafia underworld, Don Vito. As if that wasn't enough, slick Don Vito even stole his girl-friend. Well you'd think Ricco has plenty of reasons to be really angry. I'm talking Charles Bronson angry. Instead Ricco has this "I have nothing better to do this afternoon, so I might as well take on the mob" attitude that makes you wonder if anyone on the set told Mitchum exactly why he's supposed to be taking revenge. Mitchum might not be able to emote for the life of him, but at least he has two modes: smirk and stare blank. He also kisses like a fish, rolls on the ground with his sister and her boyfriend because they're too happy to see him out of prison, feigns laughter when he nearly evades car accidents, blinks in close-up when he recognizes his mother and sister's dead bodies (that's emotion for you), heck he even karate chops people in a flashback to impress his father. His karate moves are a hoot and the movie is worth the price of admission for that scene alone. Don Vito is a slick Italian mafia boss type with a mustache. He owns a soap factory, says stuff like "don't you know by now I hate soap... and men that sweat" and turns his own men into it when they fail him. If you sleep with his sultry girl-friend you get castrated in graphic detail, fed your own penis then you're thrown in a tank full of acid (that's how he turns people into soap). You don't wanna go around messing with this guy. Now for the sleaze. It comes in the form of the drop dead gorgeous Euro babes Barbara Bouchet (regular in 70's gialli) and Malisa Longo. We get get close ups of Bouchet's ass and breasts while she walks, she has a striptease scene on the hood of a car, she's lucky enough to bed Ricco and is her all around cute self. Longo in the role of Don Vito's girlfriend spends most of the movie scantily clad and seduces Don Vito's underling in a very sexy scene. Refer to the previous paragraph for what happens when you have a sex scene with her. The first half of the movie is so delightfully cheesy that I kept wondering where's Joe Bob Briggs when you need him. The second one is more gritty and sadistic with a graphic castration scene and lots of gunplay. The sleaze has a steady presence throughout and so does the silly dialogue. The score reminded me of The Godfather. That about sums it up I think. Ricco is by no means a profound crime drama but it's entertaining and schlocky enough to warrant a viewing or two. Fans of 70's Italian crime b-movies will lap it up and ask for more.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Great Italian crime flick--definitely recommended

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
12 February 2008

A young man (Chris Mitchum) gets out of prison to find that his mafia don father has been brutally murdered, and that the man that who did it (Arthur Kennedy)has also taken his fiancée (Malisa Longo). This sounds like the perfect set-up for a revenge movie, but this is actually a very atypical one. The young man had little respect for his gangster father and after years in prison is not all that desirous of revenge, but is drawn into it by his vengeful, invalid mother, his father's crooked business associates, his promiscuous former fiancée, and, above all, the utterly ruthless paranoia of the new don. This movie also takes the saying that "if you go seeking vengeance, dig two graves" to whole new extremes. The hero should have dug many, many graves since his vendetta gets practically everybody in the cast, sympathetic or evil, killed. Of course, digging graves is largely unnecessary since the evil don gets rid of most of HIS victims by putting them in an acid bath and turning them into soap for his soap factory (hilariously, he is therefore, afraid to use soap). This movie is VERY violent including graphic scenes of castration, a guy getting his face caved in with a rifle butt, ad infinitum. It was actually first released in the US as a horror movie called "Cauldron of Death".

What's interesting though, without giving away the end, is that the final revenge is strangely unsatisfying, and the movie ends up being more a tragedy like "Hamlet" than a revenge flick. It's more violent than your average American revenge flick, but also ironically a lot less fascist. Violence is not the answer to every problem and only begets more violence that ultimately stains the "good guys" as well as the "bad". (Also, even the ruthless don is humanized a bit in that he does seem to genuinely love his faithless mistress). Although certainly not all Italian crime/revenge movies are like this, I would still maintain that Italians seem to have learned something from their dark, fascist past that has been lost on many Americans.

But if all that's too left-wing for you, here's something that should appeal to ALL crime movie fans--the women. Barbara Bouchet does a sexy striptease that'll have your tongue unspooling onto the floor, but she also has an especially meaty role for a woman in one of these films as the protagonist's partner as well as his lover. Malisa Longo (whose body, uh, of work I was previously unfamiliar with) is a more the typical piece of meat (she's naked in every one of her scenes), but she does get to do some acting in her brief screen time. Ditto with future porn star Paola Senatore playing the protagonist's sister (who spends a hilariously amount of her time in bed with her husband)--I didn't even recognize her until the credits because I've never actually seen her actually ACT before. I would definitely recommend this one.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Looks a little Lean... to be too Mean.

Author: jlabine from Brooklyn, New York
16 May 2001

Whoo-hoo, what a film! This film is lots of fun. Of course not in the masterpiece kind of way. Tulio Demicheli's "The Mean Machine" is a pretty bad flick indeedy. But it's such a perfect example of Euro-Trash, that I felt someone had to mention it. First off, it has Christopher Mitchum (where else can an a major actor's son find work? In Italy of course!) giving such a wooden performance, that my roomate mearly rolled his eyes, snickered, and walked out of the room shaking his head (c'mon Tony, you know you did). Christopher with his Dad's droopy eyes just stares off with that same blank expression through out the entire film. Of course he must have known it was a pretty bad script, so I won't fault him too much (I haven't seen his other artistic efforts). But it really cracked me up that on the video box there was this drawing of him looking handsome and muscular, which he definately is not. He was pretty wimpy looking, and evertime he tried to give a macho pose, or flex his authority, I nearly laughed myself silly. Though I excuse all of this, because the real reason I rented this flick was because of the wonderful and beautiful Barbara Bouchet! And this film delivers! She does this great little strip dance in front of these gangsters in a car, right before Chris (Rico the "Mean Machine") throws them into a lake! It's so funny, that Italy will take any oppertunity they can to show off Barbara's attributes. Of course it gratuitous, but it's just too much fun! And of course even after the big ambush, Chris looks to Barbara and she's still has no clothes on. She's having a good time tackling gangsters in the nude! Well, at least Barbara looks to be having fun. Another Euro-babe favourite Malisa Longo (as Chris' ex-girlfriend)also likes to spend her time flirting with Bodygaurds and sitting around in the buff. But unfortunately she meets with a very grizzly end, and becomes the film's sacrificial lamb (what else was gonna come of her character? Chris Mitchum was now with Barbara Bouchet.) in a tub of Acid! This film contains all the unnecessary violence (gory stuff as well), nudity (lots of it), macho posturing (Chris' Ricco is not opposed to giving a lady a smack if she's not behaving), and crummy acting that 70's Italian cinema is so famous for. Would I recommend it? Hardly! Did I laugh my fool head off? Yep! After this review, I'll let the reader make their own call. Barbara Bouchet is amazing!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Ricco

7/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
4 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A young man named Ricco(Chris Mitchum)gets a year off his sentence after serving two years in prison, and quietly sets out to even a score against mafioso king Don Vito(Arthur Kennedy), the man responsible for murdering his mob boss father so that he could have control over the entire city. What erupts is a blood feud where many tragic casualties, innocents whose blood are shed, lie in the wake of Ricco and Vito's rivalry. Ricco finds an ally in an old friend of his father's niece, Scilla(Barbara Bouchet)..Scilla, at first, participates for kicks, but soon finds that she's in love with Ricco and realizes that his feud with Vito will only leave a lot of innocent people dead. Once Ricco gets mixed up with a crooked partner of Vito's, Cyrano(Eduardo Fajardo), once a pal of his father, there's no turning back. Diamonds, and collected dues of those benefactors for whom Vito "protects", soon play into matters as does Ricco's old squeeze, Rosa(Malisa Longo)now "property" of the Don. Vito cherishes Rosa, and anyone who dares even attempt to touch what is his will inherit a trip into his vat of acid. The climax is a shoot-out at Don Vito's factory with Ricco seeking revenge when those he loves are slain in horrific gang-land style fashion.

Ultra violent crime thriller with Christopher Mitchum walking tall, saying only what needs to be said..like his father Robert, Chris doesn't overexert himself. He's quite the cool customer, approaching even the most violent situations with a laid-back calm staring down possible death at every turn. Kennedy inhibits the sadistic Don Vito as if born to play him..having portrayed villains in westerns with ease, playing the heavy in "Ricco" is a piece of cake. The true star of this film, besides Barbara Bouchet who always knows how to make a scene, is Malisa Longo as Rosa, who takes you completely away from the film immediately casting your eyes towards her. She's quite a feast to salivate over..the kind of sex kitten who would have you turning cart-wheels and barking like a dog. She's "to die for" and one does, but I certainly understand why one would risk the chance to bed her. Whether walking around in lingerie or bathing top-less, she's a tasty dish..no a gourmet meal. Matter of fact, she's the best part of the meal..she's the desirable dessert. I found that Mitchum and Bouchet had good chemistry and that both knew the wattage they carried on screen. Mitchum carries that effortless cool and Bouchet is so damn sexy, and knows it, I never questioned why I liked watching them together on screen. Bouchet even performs a nice little strip-tease for the viewer..thanks dear for providing another memorable scene(..like Bouchet hasn't provided ample memories already!)I can carry away into my fantasies.

Getting away from the babes, I have to mention the castration scene. One fellow, Tony(Manuel Zarzo)can not resist Rosa's sexual advances(..given the situation, I can see why he succumbs to her wiles)and is caught by the Don. Tony fights three of the Don's goons before getting his privates sliced off with a knife..he then gets his penis and testicles shoved down his throat before being tossed in Vito's acid vat! If the opening scene where Ricco's father's face is shot in point-blank, then this gory sequence of events does. When it comes to subtlety, you'd better look elsewhere because the Italians always go for broke.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An Ultra-Violent Charles Bronson style Vendetta Thriller

8/10
Author: zardoz-13 from United States
25 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Originally, when "Ricco The Mean Machine" came out on VHS in America, it was an edited version, but the 2006 DVD release put all the footage back into it that makes it a violent, brutal movie. This contemporary Italian produced revenge thriller chronicles the last days of Ricco Aversi (Christopher Mitchum-the son of the legendary Robert Mitchum) after he gets out of prison where he served two years. He has been let out of jail a year ahead of time for good behavior. Ricco is coming home to see his married sister and invalid mother. Mom tries to thrust an automatic pistol into his palm because Mafiaso Don Vito (Arthur Kennedy) had his father, Gaspara Aversi (Luis Induni), murdered. Duty-bound Ricco assures his mom that he will handle things in his own way. Ricco infiltrates the gang with the help of an old friend (Eduardo Fajardo of "The Mercenary") who turns out to be pretty treacherous and his new girlfriend Scilla (Barbara Bouchet) who likes to hustle guys with her cleavage when she is trying to exchange funny money for genuine green.

Basically, this is a violent shoot'em up crime movie with some tough, gritty action. The uncut version shows a mafia soldier getting dumped naked into a tub of acid after the villains have cut off his genitals--yes, you see a super hairy cock & balls slashed off and then shoved in his mouth before they tumble him into the acid bath. Rosa (Malisa Longo) joins him a moment later; Rosa was the girlfriend of Don Vito and she was cheating on him with one of his crime lieutenant because she wanted to have sex with young meat.

This nimble European actioneer opens with the ambush of Gaspara Aversi. He is ambushed trying to get the night watchman to open a gate so that he can park his car. Three men open fire on him and wound him repeatedly but the mafia chieftain guns them down. Gaspara is not as lucky when the fourth gunman delivers a coup de grace to the him and blasts away his noggin. Amoral crime drama from start to finish with its own message that revenge begets killing and more killing until there is nobody left to kill, including the protagonist who dies in a duel with Don Vito. One interesting scene occurs about half-way through the movie when Ricco and Scilla rob two guys carrying protection collection money gathered by the Vito mob. Scilla walks in front of their car on a foggy bridge and strip-teases. When they get out of the car to approach her, Ricco surprises them from behind and sends them plunging into the river. The consequences for their ill-advised behavior is not good. An unhappy Don Vito has both of them thrown unceremoniously into an acid bath. The ironic thing about the Don Vito character is that he is a mobster who makes soap! If you crave exploitation European movie-making at its best, do not miss "Ricco The Mean Machine!" This movie was made when it was fashionable to zoom and pan with film cameras. Christopher Mitchum studied karate, too. The production lensed the action on location around Rome, Italy.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Violent, trashy, exploitive, and a helluva lot of fun!

8/10
Author: bensonmum2 from Tennessee
26 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

That sure was fun! Ricco (or The Mean Machine or whatever you want to call it) may not be the best, most dramatic, or grittiest Euro-crime film I've run across, but it is one of the most entertaining I've ever seen. Ricco (Christopher Mitchum) is a young man out for revenge. He's just finished serving a two year prison sentence for attacking the man he holds responsible for killing his father and assuming control of his criminal organization. And now that he's been released, Ricco discovers that Don Vito (Arthur Kennedy) has also taken his girl.

Let's get this out of the way up-front – Ricco has its fair share of obvious weaknesses and problems. Chief among them is Mitchum. He may look a lot like his father, but that's where the comparison ends. I'm guessing he was going for introspective and brooding, but unfortunately Mitchum comes off as vacant and robotic. His fight scenes are often hysterical. Watching him go through his kung-fu moves, I can just imagine the director off-screen giving him step-by-step instructions. I've never seen someone move so unnaturally.

But I've always said that I rate movies based on entertainment value and Ricco provides a good test of that statement. Looking past Mitchum's shortcomings, Ricco is wildly entertaining. It's a trashy good time. The movie has a feel to it that I found unique for this kind of movie. It never seems to be taking itself too seriously. I may be way off on this one, but to me it's as if the director, Tulio Demicheli, realized how absurd some of the situations were and just let everyone have fun with it. The plot is actually little more than the standard revenge theme, but it held my interest throughout. There's hardly ever a dull moment. Ricco has the violence I've come to expect from this kind of movie – including one particularly nasty scene that makes something like the cut-off ear in Django look like child's play. The supporting cast is top notch. Arthur Kennedy makes for a wonderfully slimy villain, complete with a ridiculous looking mustache. Ricco's old flame is played by the insanely gorgeous Malisa Longo. And genre favorite Barbara Bouchet's surreal stripper routine in the middle of the road is another of the film's highlights. What more could you ask for?

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Blood, Guns, Boobs & Gangs!

6/10
Author: MidnightReviewPresents from Canada
24 May 2011

Ricco, is the story of a man trying to find out who killed his father.... though it seems Extremely obvious who did it from the start.

Along the way, every lady is naked at one point..... except for the wheel chair bound mother. Ricco Karate chops every goon Don Vito sends at him, and acid... lots of guys get thrown in acid!

Yeah, sure, there is some extremely bad acting, poorly synced over dubs, and the editing is confusing at times. But it's got a killer soundtrack, and one of the most memorable uses of a switchblade ever!..

Not quite your average revenge flick.

A trashy, violent, and most of all, topless good time!

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Excellent crime-thriller. Why so obscure?

8/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
23 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Judging by the juicy title and exhilarating VHS-cover, "Cauldron of Death" appears to be a genuinely nasty horror film, but it is in fact a rough 'n tough revenge-thriller! It's still extremely gory and sadistic, but the storyline is more reminiscent to those typical Italian Godfather rip-offs of the early 70's, with relentless mob bosses violently eliminating their competitors in order to become the only reigning king of crime in a certain city. The titular cauldron refers to the favorite killing-method of the meanest bastard in town, who throws his enemies (and sometimes even his loved ones) into a giant bath of acid where they meet a slow and painful melting-death. During the outrageous opening sequences, which immediately set the right violent mood, we witness how the accomplices of Don Vito mercilessly execute the current crime-leader. Two years later, his son returns to town from prison and plots to single-handedly avenge his father as well as to recover his girlfriend Rosa who got claimed by Don Vito. From then on, "Cauldron of Blood" turns into a tremendously exciting macho-showdown between the charismatic young blond hero and the sleazy old bastard, with treasonous characters, lurid ladies and a whole lot of bloody gunfights. Whenever Rico humiliates Don Vito or steals some of his crime-monopoly, the other one responds by executing one of Rico's innocent family members, like his pregnant sister or his crippled mother. "Cauldron of Death" is incredibly fast-paced and, surprisingly enough, the script dissociates itself from all the feared clichés and taboos. There are certain deaths in this film that you can't possibly see coming and even the final battle at the end of the story is shockingly unpredictable. For this reason alone, I highly recommend "Cauldron of Death" to every fan of unusual Euro-Trash cinema! Other than the convoluted structure and the highly effective plot twists, this undiscovered gem of Italian smut-cinema also features some of the most outrageous gore you've ever seen. In one particular sequence, which clearly got edited back into the film after an initial censorship, we explicitly witness how a poor guy gets castrated for messing around with Don Vito's woman and subsequently gets thrown into the acid. His extendedly depicted agony is still horrifying, even though the make-up effects are cheap and very cheesy. There's also a lot of graphic nudity and sleaze (or what else did you expected), provided by two of Italy's most contemporary popular muses, Barbara Bouchet and Malisa Longo. I don't really understand why this film is still so obscure, especially with the recent revival of euro-crime cinema, which put several other highlights of the sub genre on DVD, like "Almost Human" and "Rabid Dogs". Maybe it's because director Tulio Demicheli never truly belonged to the prominent circle of Italian exploitation filmmakers? So far, this film is only available on VHS (or bootleg DVD-R) and quality of both picture and sound is horrendous. Here's to hoping it gets rewarded with a fancy DVD edition any time soon!

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