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Fernando Di Leo
When a shipment of heroin disappears between Italy and New York, a small-time pimp in Milan is framed for the theft. Two professional hitmen are dispatched from New York to find him, but the real thieves want to get rid of him before the New York killers get to him to eliminate any chance of them finding out he's the wrong man. When the pimp's wife and daughter are murdered in the course of the "manhunt", he swears revenge on everyone who had anything to do with it. Written by
I'm a big fan of Italian crime flicks, and I'm an especially big fan of this one as it's one of the best out there! The Italian Connection is a part of a loose trilogy by director Fernando Di Leo, the other two parts being the excellent Milano Calibro 9 and The Boss, which I've not seen yet. As good as Milano Calibro 9 is, this film is better and I'll be very surprised if it's topped by The Boss. Like many Italian cult films, this one has a list of a.k.a. titles as long as my arm. I saw it under the title 'The Italian Connection', but it's alternative title 'Manhunt' is probably the most suitable considering the plot. It's quite a simple tale of crime and revenge. First we are introduced to two American contract killers who are given the task of going to Milan to track down a pimp named Luca Canali who apparently stole a large amount of heroin from the killer's employers. However, it soon transpires that they've been misinformed when the local crime boss also wants to get his hands on Carneli, before it comes to the killer's employer's attention that it was really him that stole the heroin...
The main reason why this film works is down to the simple plotting. The plot itself actually has quite a lot of angles, but director Fernando Di Leo keeps the focus on one thing at a time and that ensures that the film is always thrilling and easy to follow. Fernando Di Leo is clearly very good at directing crime flicks, aside from the aforementioned trilogy of which this film is a part; he also has a handful of other crime flicks to his name, including the very good Kidnap Syndicate. This film is set up like a chase movie, we have the contract killer chasing our unlikely hero (the pimp) for the first part of the movie, then he's being chased the local crime boss' men and the story is given a nice twist in the final third. Cult actor Mario Adorf is great as the pimp Luca Canali; he makes an unlikely hero, but an engaging and interesting one. Henry Silva and Woody Strode are effective as the contract killers, while the cast is nicely topped off by Adolfo Ceri as Milan's crime boss. I would say that this is a fun film to watch, but it's also rather brutal; a sequence involving a cat in a scrap yard at the end sums that up. Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to name The Italian Connection as one of my all time favourite Italian crime flicks, and this one therefore comes highly recommended.
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