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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
"Manhunt" is a fantastic title for a fantastic Italian action/thriller with even more fantastic testosterone-laden characters and a fantastically dazzling level of excitement. Admittedly I'm slightly biased, as I'm a sucker for Italian cult cinema in general, but hey, apparently so are all my fellow reviewers around here! The second installment in Fernando Di Leo's Italian mafia trilogy is definitely on par with the other two, "Milano Calibro .9" and "The Boss", and I rated those respectively 10/10 and 9/10. The three films take place in similar locations and often even star the same cast members, but nonetheless they're entirely divergent and distinctly unique achievements. "Manhunt" mainly excels through a vastly simplistic yet hugely fascinating plot, but also through a handful of jaw-dropping shock sequences and perplexing performances. Two relentless American hit men arrive in Milan with the assignment to eliminate the guy who was supposedly responsible for a shipment of heroin gone missing. Basically a routine job, but the boss wants to set an example out of this case and instructs for the kill to be mighty and spectacular. One problem, however, the target Luca Canali is only a small time pimp wrongfully appointed as the culprit by the competition and he unexpectedly safeguards himself tremendously from the massive manhunt held against him. Mega-gifted director Di Leo masterfully illustrates the titular manhunt, as we gradually witness how Luca Canali transforms from a casual & presumptuous little thug into an almost likable and forcedly infuriated anti-hero. Mario Adorf gives away a stunning performance as Luca; a literally unstoppable man of steel the dude crushes telephones and windshields with his bare head - who honestly has no idea what overcomes him but continues to battle for his survival nevertheless. His opponents, played by "Poliziottesco" veteran Henry Silva and Woody Strode, are convincingly menacing as well. The film is also stuffed with bestial showdowns and adrenalin-rushing chase sequences. The violence in "Manhunt" is uncompromising as hell and literally nothing or no one escapes the extreme brutality, not even children, women or adorable young kittens. Some of the settings are overly clichéd (like the topless dancing) and the nudity footage is a bit too gratuitous (random hippie orgies), but those are just insignificant little defaults in an overall first-rate 70's thriller. "Manhunt", as well as the aforementioned other two installments of Fernando Di Leo's mafia trilogy, is a definite must for action fanatics with nerves of steel.
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