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Stunningly nasty hostage thriller by Umberto Lenzi
Camera Obscura20 March 2007
ALMOST HUMAN (Umberto Lenzi - Italy 1974.

I had missed out far too long on Umberto Lenzi's best known crime flick, which is hands down one of the best poliziotesschi I've seen so far, almost on par with the best of Fernando Di Leo's work, together with Lenzi one of the more prolific directors within the genre. Whilst generally acknowledged to be one of the better Italian crime flicks, Lenzi's somewhat ham-fisted approach to his gialli, had made me a little reluctant to catch up with any of his other work. Although Lenzi's own VIOLENT NAPLES is also a well-made, highly effective genre entry, this one comes close to beating out that one when it comes to sheer brutality and an almost unbelievable barrage of nasty violence.

A rarity in most Italian crime thrillers, this film benefits enormously from an intriguing and woefully ambivalent central character, played with tremendous vigour by Tomas Milian, who plays Guillio Sacchi, a violent low life scumbag with no regard for human life at all and with a real penchant for torture and rape. The other side of the law is represented by stone-faced Henry Silva, who switches to playing a cop this time, instead of his usual turn as the calculating crime kingpin. The story by Ernesto Gastaldi is simplicity itself and doesn't take all kinds of distracting side-roads that make many other genre efforts so forgettable in that department. Anyway, if you're still in doubt about the merits of Italo-crime flicks, watch this one. An intriguing story, Tomas Milian in a great role and Ennio Morricone contributes another impressive soundtrack what must be one of his most recognizable scores this side from Sergio Leone. I keep wondering if the members of the Academy, who recently honoured Morricone with the honorary Oscar, had any idea what kind of films the maestro generally got involved in.

Camera Obscura --- 9/10
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Almost Perfect
Bezenby5 March 2013
Yet another winner from Umberto Lenzi, one of the masters of the Italian Crime movie (and there are many). For this one, he focuses mainly on the exploits of Guilio (Tomas Milian), a psychopath out for that one big score, who struggles to keep his insanity in check.

Julio's just botched a bank job by getting a bit paranoid and killing a traffic cop, and after receiving a well-deserved kicking from some gangsters, he heads off to his girlfriend's house to mooch some cash. When not getting a kicking or mooching, Guilio hangs around with his petty thief mates, preaching about a big score. After killing yet another cop while being caught stealing from a cigarette machine, Julio stumbles upon his plan – to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy businessman and hold her for ransom. He's got two problems with this plan. The first problem is that Cop Henry Silva is on his trail ever since the murder of the cop at the cigarette machine. The second problem is that Guilio is a complete psycho and kills without thought, leaving a trail of bodies for Silva to find. Silva himself has a problem – he's a victim of the apathy and red tape of the Italian crime system and his fury grows every time he's held back from stomping all over Guilio's head. Although Almost Human is violent and sleazy, it's not as over the top as Violent Naples or The Rat, The Cynic, The Fist. Those two films had a larger cast, more car chases, and more characters to be killed off in various ways. Almost Human on the other hand is Milian's show all the way. Despite, according to the interview on my DVD, Milian being a bit full of himself, he really can act and here he displays every side of a sociopath, from a screaming murderer to a grief stricken boyfriend, to a begging, pathetic weasel (the switches in personality are really impressive). As the film concentrates almost exclusively on Milian, it's slower paced but not without it's set pieces, from Milian and his gang crashing a party, to Milian's drive with girlfriend Anita Strinberg out into the country. I'd say the title doesn't just refer to Milian, but also to Silva, who displays little emotion throughout the film, save his rage against Milian. I recommend this and all the other Lenzi crime movies I've seen: Violent Naples, The Rat, the Cynic, The Fist, and Syndicated Sadists. It's a pity he got bogged down trying to outdo Ruggero Deodato with those vile cannibal flicks, because it's with the crime genre he excelled at.
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First rate police thriller from Umberto Lenzi!
The_Void23 June 2006
Umberto Lenzi's Almost Human is a film that takes in all the best elements of seventies Italian cinema and blends it all into one deliriously entertaining thriller! Umberto Lenzi is, of course, more famous for his cannibal and zombie films; but I have it on good authority that his real talent lies in police thrillers, and even though this is my first Poliziotteschi from Lenzi; it appears that would indeed be the case. The film takes obvious influence from successful American films such as Dirty Harry, but it's also obvious that Lenzi has added his own spin on the sub-genre, as the sadistic director implants a lot of scenes that wouldn't be out of place in an exploitation film. Almost Human is graphically violent throughout, and that is certainly no bad thing! The film follows a career criminal known as Giulio Sacci who realises that he's not making a lot of money out of small time crime and so hatches a plot to kidnap a wealthy man's daughter and hold her for ransom. It's not long before Milan's toughest cop; Inspector Walter Grandi gets on the case and sets into motion a bloodthirsty chain of events!

The cast and crew is like a who's who of Italian cinema. Lenzi himself has directed a number of the best Italian films, while nobody will disagree that films such as The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh and The Case of the Bloody Iris make Ernesto Gastaldi one of Italy's finest scriptwriters. The cast is superb, and benefits from two strong lead male performances. Thomas Milan, perhaps best known for performances as Django and a starring role in Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling, gives a sadistic and charismatic lead performance, while Henry Silva is his opposite number. There are support roles for the likes of Anita Strindberg and Ray Lovelock, and just to top things off; Almost Human is scored by the great Ennio Morricone! The plot is superb and continually delivers the unexpected as the lead character descends further into bloodthirsty insanity. Lenzi does a good job of presenting a dirty and gritty atmosphere for the film, and ensures that the film feels like a police thriller with several car chases and shootouts. Italian films are known for being cheap and nasty; but that isn't the case here, as the production values are good and the film always feels professionally made. Highly recommended for the fan of Italian cinema!
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Time To Meet Your Maker..
morrison-dylan-fan17 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
After having enjoyed Lucio Fulcis entertaining,though slightly muddled Italian Crime film Contraband,I was extremely interested in seeing an Italian Crime film from Umberto Lenzi,who introduced me to the brilliant "Giallo" genre with his very under rated film Spasmo.After having put the DVD on,I realised that I needed to hold on tight,because I was in for an amazing ride...

The plot:

Having spent most of his life grabbing spare change,petty criminal Giulito Sacchi decides that he should at last fill his deepest desire of becoming one of the most feared,and most wealthiest criminals in the country.When Sacchi goes to pick up his new girlfriend from work,he discovers that his girlfriend works for a very powerful and wealthy man of the city.

After finding this out,Giulito starts talking to his friends about the "opertunity" that he sees right in front of their faces that could make them all very rich.The only problem for Giulito is that none of his friends are able to think of an idea that they could use to get a big chunk of cash from the man.

Suddenly Sacchi has a brainstorm,when his girlfriend tells him that she has been working with the mans daughter.Although it does take Giulito some time to convince the gang that it is worth taking the risk,the others eventually agree that they should take the risk and kidnap the daughter for a big ransom,which they could live off for the rest of their lives.

Just before the kidnapping takes place,Sacchi kills his girlfriend to make sure that no word gets out about the plans.When the gang grab the girl (and kill her boyfriend!)everything seems to be going to plan,and when they find out that her dad is desperate to pay them as much money as they want to get his daughter back,they all start to relax,with the knowledge that this kidnapping is going to be a very smooth and easy operation.

Although as they get closer to getting their hands on the cash,the fear of it falling apart starts to get deep inside the minds of some of the kidnappers,whilst the deep and dangerous greed of Giulito Sacchi starts to make all of the gang fear that his desire for money and power might be about to destroy their chance of getting a piece of the ramson money...

View on the film:

Whilst Lenzi has toned down his excellent scatter-shot jump-cutting that make his brilliant Giallos so distinctive,he has impressively put all of his relentless energy into making Emesto Gastaldis great screenplay move at an unbelievable pace.

With the beginning of the film starting with a very intense looking car chase.Along with Tomas Milian entertaining slime-ball performance of Giulito Sacchi,Umberto does an excellent job at making Sacchi a great lead character,which includes turning Giulito into a proto- (Pacino) Scarface character,who instead of being at the bottom of the pile,wants to be the man that has the world,and everything in it.

For the violence in the film,Lenzi cleverly has the extremeness of the violence increase,as Sacchi gets more insane (although scenes of Giulito and his gang invading a villa,where the daughter is hiding, at around the 30 minute mark show that Giulito Sacchi has already jumped over the edge,in his mad lust for money and power.

When watching the last half an hour of the film,I was very surprise to see Umberto give the film an amazing Film Noir look,with part of the films ending taking place around a river,which allows Lenzi to make the plot fill a lot more intense,by giving the scenes a very stark murky look with Sacchi trying to get away from the foggy area,even though Lenzi shows that even Sacchi,must now be questioning if he has any chance to succeed at all?

Final view on the film:

An explosive,adrenaline-fulled Italian crime film,with a gripping screenplay and dazzling directing from Lenzi.
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Possibly Umberto Lenzi's best film!
Golgo-1327 September 2005
Wow, I was not expecting this one to be as good as it turned out! Possibly Umberto Lenzi's best film, Almost Human is a violent and mean-spirited Italian crime-thriller from that golden age of the 70's. Tomas Milian stars as Giulio Sacchi, a lowly thug who is despised even by his peers. Sacchi has a lot of criminal perseverance, though, and manages to come up with a kidnapping/ransom scheme that should set him and his small crew up for life. Of course, the fact that Sacchi is a mean and crazy bastard makes things difficult (and deadly) for just about everyone involved, inadvertently or not! The dedicated, stone-faced cop investigating Sacchi's reign of terror was played by Henry Silva, who did a fine job in the role. To the tune of the thumping theme by Ennio Morricone, Almost Human delivers the details and action at a strong pace, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout. And with cool dialogue that Tarantino would love, well, this was just a very entertaining and well-made piece of Eurocrime. The new DVD from No Shame features several interview extras, the best of which being from Milian, who even at his old age manages to be a lively, funny guy.
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Almost Human
Scarecrow-8827 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Sensational Poliziotteschi from Umberto Lenzi, set in Milan(Italy) stars Tomas Milian, in a terrific(..and terrifying) performance as a sadistic homicidal thug who is the mastermind behind the kidnapping of a politician's daughter for a major ransom. His scheme seems to be going without a hitch, but his psychopathic tendencies can only continue for so long before he eventually hangs himself at some point. Henry Silva, intense and smooth as ever, is the detective out to catch him. Ray Lovelock and Gino Santercole are Milian's accomplices. The delectable Anita Strinberg has a small role as Milian's doomed lover, whose vehicle and sexual favors are used on a regular basis. The beautiful Laura Belli is the innocent kidnapped by Milian whose fate doesn't have a very promising outlook. Luciano Catenacci makes the most of a secondary role as a dangerous Milan mobster for whom Milian has worked for..Milian's dealings with Catenacci have been worrisome affairs due to his violent and unpredictable nature(..not to mention Milian's screw-up during a planned heist when he murders a street cop in cold blood). Guido Alberti is the politician Milian wishes to milk for half a billion. Strinberg was an employee of Alberti, and Milian's idea just came about out of sheer desperation for some cash. Milian creates quite a frightening persona in his unhinged hood, always tearing into his bubble gum, twitchy and unstable..the kind of character that is spontaneous and destructive.

The opening car chase through Milan is riveting as the police chase after Catenacci's hoods with Milian in tow, when a bank robbery goes awry. Those that consider Lenzi an unaccomplished director should take a gander at ALMOST HUMAN, because the pacing is incredible as is the emphasis on moving the story along without unnecessary set-backs. Ernesto Gastaldi's unpretentious screenplay focuses on the plot while also providing the cast(..particularly Milian, Silva, and Lovelock)with chances to further expand their characterizations. The film is ultimately a showcase for Milian because the story itself derives from his impulsive and criminal activity..he is the source for all the horror that takes place throughout, the lightning rod if you will. The aftermath, once the money drop takes place, is certainly shocking, perhaps leaving a bad taste in your mouth, but it shows that Milian's scumbag is devoid of humanity, with no moral compass other than his own goal of attaining wealth through any means necessary without being caught. Following the DIRTY HARRY model, Silva soon realizes that he must take the law into his own hands since going by the book hasn't helped keep a murderer off the streets..appropriately downbeat ending even after revenge was served because so many were left dead by Milian's deeds. The most unsettling sequence would have to be the result of a massacre at the hands of Milian who attacks a bourgeoisie gathering, with even a little girl being shot and killed(..the "roulette by chandelier" with two women hanging, with their breasts exposed, as Milian opens fire is rather horrifying).
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Brilliantly Brutal
Witchfinder General 66614 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Among fans of Italian genre cinema, director Umberto Lenzi is known as a master of many genres, be it gruesome Cannibal films or tantalizing crime cinema, and furthermore has earned himself the well-deserved reputation of one of the most uncompromising directors of gruesome films. It is therefore no surprise, that one of the most ultra-violent and tough-minded highlights of Italian Crime cinema, namely "Almost Human" comes from Lenzi. "Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare" aka. "Almost Human" of 1973 is a brutal and brilliant Poliziottesco, one of the most uncompromising films of its genre, coming along with an ingenious score by none other than Ennio Morricone. Apart from the brilliant score, the brutal, uncompromising violence, the raw atmosphere and gripping story it is furthermore two of the greatest stars in Italian 70s cinema that make "Milano Odia" an absolute must-see for lovers of cult cinema.

One of my personal all-time favorite actors, Tomas Milian, stars in his most sadistic and despicable role of Giulio Sacchi, a ruthless small-time crook who has no scruples to rape, torture and brutally murder Innocent victims for his own benefit. Milian is truly brilliant in his role, and excellently personifies perverted sadism and greed. His opponent is played by another true great of Italian crime cinema: Henry Silva plays super-tough Inspector Grandi, a man who hates criminals as he hates crime, and who is not afraid to take the law into his own hands once the legal ways have failed to bring a delinquent to justice... These two brilliant actors are the perfect cast for the film. Milian and Silva alone are capable of making a film great, and "Milano Odia" has so much more to offer. The supporting performances are also great, Laura Belli, Guido Alberti, Luciano Catenacci, who plays a crime boss, and the wonderful Anita Strindberg are especially worth mentioning.

Brutal, tough-minded and tantalizing from the beginning, "Almost Human" is definitely not for the sensitive when it comes to violence, but an absolute must-see for every fan of Italian Crime cinema. This is Eurocrime at its grittiest and most uncompromising. It simply doesn't get more intense than "Milano Odia". Lovers of 70s genre-cinema can not afford to miss this gripping and ultra-violent masterpiece! 10/10
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A depraved thrill-ride for the trash-tolerant
Blaise_B11 January 2003
This was reportedly released in the U.S. in the 70's in a badly cut form and billed as a horror film.

It is clearly a CRIME film, one that focuses first on the malefactors (led by a crazed, sociopathic Tomas Milian) and only second on the pursuing detective (one mightily p****d-off Henry Silva). The version I saw, supposedly "uncut," certainly did not leave me bored. It's trashy, over the top and exploitative, expressing much the politics of a "Dirty Harry" rip-off with its emasculated cop driven to vigilante tactics and its sleazy anti-hero (Milian) who will literally stop at NOTHING, not even remorseless, cold-blooded murder, just to steal a few bucks out of a cigarette machine. But it didn't leave me bored.

Milian's riveting (as usual) performance--many complain that he exaggerates too much but I feel they're missing the point--suffers greatly due to the bad English dubbing. This is quite frustrating, since Milian speaks English and could have done it himself. The excellent Morricone score also suffers, since the music suddenly gets lowered or stops altogether every time a character speaks. But these are faults, I'm sure, of the English language version and not of the film itself.

The film itself, taken on its own terms, is entertaining as hell. Especially if you think Hell might be entertaining. Milian's character, a small-time hood named Sacchi who is determined to make it big by kidnapping a rich guy's daughter, is on a hell-bent mission. He doesn't care who he kills, tortures or rapes as long as he doesn't leave witnesses. When he's not killing, torturing and raping, he's committing brazen acts such as following the cops who are supposed to be following him and going to the police station to report his own crimes.

It's a bloody crime film that never lets up. It's set in a desperate, anarchic urban landscape where Grandma and Grandpa sell machine guns. Morricone's score adds a whole ominous dimension; the music in the opening credits just says, "Ugly things are about to happen." And they do. Just look for a version with subtitles, if you don't speak Italian.

Quentin Tarantino's mother was blowing his nose, damn straight.
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Claustrophobic brilliant movie
Giovanni rossi18 January 2000
A claustrophobic brilliant movie, I think it's more about an italian social class disorder than milian being a criminal,his the regular working class guy pissed of about being poor, and in Milan more than any other region in Italy, the social class is very important, and very very present, when milian kills all those people, you feel bad for them, but on the other hand you can see his mission, and you feel for him, in the end when he pulls it off, you almost feel relieved, anyway this movie is a real movie just like "il Boss/wipeout" and it deserves to be watched, the only problem with this movie and "il boss/wipeout" is that after you see these movies every other movie will seriously bore you, and you'll find no depth in them. After I seeing these movies, personally, I couldn't watched anything else for at least 2 weeks, I tried, but I wasn't able to. This movie is powerfull and most of all real
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Milian is Brilliant
bensonmum24 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • Given my limited experience with Italian crime/cop films, this is easily the best I've seen. Tomas Milian is Giulio Sacchi, a small time crook with big time dreams. He shows no hesitation or remorse when it comes to killing. He will kill anyone who he thinks is in his way. He even kills a policeman for the change from a cigarette machine. He hatches a plan to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy man. That's when all hell breaks loose. Anyone, and I mean anyone, in his way had better watch out.

  • Almost Human is incredibly violent. At times, I was reminded of vicious nature of movies like The Last House on the Left. It's that sadistic. One of my "favorite" moments has to be when Sacchi and his pals tie three people from a chandelier and torment them physically and sexually before finally filling their bodies with bullets. It's an incredibly brutal scene that goes a long way to showing how demented Sacchi really is.

  • Milian has always been a favorite of mine, but the more I see of his work, I become even more impressed. While I may have liked his portrayal of Rambo in Syndicate Sadists more, there's no denying how good he is at playing Sacchi. The rest of the cast is also very good. Henry Silva, as the cop who won't stop, and Anita Strindberg, as the doomed girlfriend, really standout.
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Gritty and violent Italian crime thriller.
HumanoidOfFlesh5 April 2009
Giulio Sacchi is a violent criminal scumbag who kills several cops in the course of some petty crimes.After being kicked out of his gang for murdering a police officer,Sacchi is forced to scrape out a living by robbing cigarette machines.He decides to kidnap Mary Lou,the daughter of a wealthy businessman.Enlisting the help of two of his friends,the trio not only kidnaps the girl but also massacres a house full of rich people in an unflinchingly brutal scene.It's time for Inspector Walter Grandi to catch this vicious criminal...Violent and sadistic Italian polizioteschi flick with memorable central performances of Henry Silva and Tomas Milian.The pace is relatively slow,but there is enough sleaze and brutal violence to keep fans of Eurocult entertained.9 out of 10.
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Not nearly human, but delightfully beastly!
Coventry17 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Even if you're only just slightly interested in cult-cinema of the golden 60's-70's period, you know that whatever trend the Italian directors took on; they did it better. Whether it was horror, westerns or – as in this case – crime thriller, the Italians always surpassed the standards of any other major film-producing country and delivered politically incorrect but hugely entertaining & genre defining movies. One of the few (brilliant) directors active in all different fields was Umberto Lenzi, whose marvelously restored "Almost Human" is a truly terrific and ultra-violent classic. Tomas Milian gives a formidable one man show as a small time crook who desperately wants to climb up Milan's crime-ladder and therefore commits the vilest and most atrocious crimes, like relentlessly shooting people for the spare change in their pockets and buy cigarettes. Hell truly breaks loose when Giullio, along with two companions, kidnaps the daughter of a prominent businessman and demands a gigantic ransom. Many people, all innocent, get killed in order to still Giullio's sadistic hunger for violence. Particularly one sequence is excruciatingly intense, namely when the kidnapped girl Mary Lou briefly escapes and hopes to hide herself in a secluded country mansion. Giullio & C° also invade the mansion and extendedly torture, humiliate and terrorize all the inhabitants. Umberto Lenzi totally went berserk here and blends sick violence with ultra-sleazy footage, as Giullio even forces a MALE hostage to give oral sex. The kidnappers are hunted down by obsessive copper Henry Silva, who totally lives up to the stereotype of 70's cops. Inspector Grandi is rough, tough and actually prefers to personally execute the bad guys rather than to put them behind bars. "Almost Human" is incredibly fast-paced, with super-exciting car chases and outrageous gunfights throughout the entire playtime. The script offers a lot of unexpected twists to keep you on the edge of your seat and Tomas Millian's performance alone is enough to consider this a masterpiece of 70's exploitation cinema. The camera-work is masterfully restored in the new DVD-release, but Ennio Morricone's score is as mesmerizing as it ever was. A true must!
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Though it's not a horror movie, American title "Almost Human" is apt!
chrisdfilm31 March 2004
Once again Umberto Lenzi and Tomas Milian deliver the goods. I was recently lucky enough to finally get ahold of an uncut Italian DVD of this (though the English version on it is dubbed not subtitled). It was my first time seeing it, and I was continually (and pleasantly) surprised at how the unfolding narrative, charging ahead like a runaway locomotive, confounded my expectations. This ultra-violent film has some of the most shocking moments from any film from the seventies and constantly grinds up cliches and spits them out like so much shredded celluloid. Utterly mesmerizing, in part due to the jawdropping performance of Milian as the psychotically sociopathic, wisecracking kidnapper. But Lenzi's direction and the script by Ernesto Gastaldi (veteran of some of the finest giallos)deserve credit, too. Although it's great to see Henry Silva in a substantial role as the doggedly pursuing detective, his performance is a bit uneven, unbelievably wooden in some scenes, over-the-top in others. Supporting cast Ray Lovelock, Anita Strindberg and Laura Belli are all great.

It's hard to believe that some of the folks supplying comments here found this boring! Thoroughly downbeat and uncompromising, refusing to deliver a happy ending for any of the characters, it's one of the great, gritty, up-from-the-gutter trash classics from seventies Italian cinema. Highly recommended. If you love this kind of movie and have still not seen it, search it out!
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Entertaining Lenzi crime
andy_n_johansen8 August 2004
This seems to be a very typical Italian crime film...and boy, do i love it. Ennio Morricone has a short, but killer instrumental tune going on at the very beginning of the film, setting the mood for what this movie is all about. We have the fine Tomas Milian playing a pathetic, gunhappy bastard who gets ticked off very easily and spends most of the movie killing the people he gets near. A high bodycount for mr. Milian here. Great boys...are you happy??? i know i am for owning this movie. I even have the soundtrack in my collection. Go see it boys!!! The American title for this movie "Almost human" is very misconceiving, as Milian in no sense seems like a human being. A translation of the Italian title is more correctly "Hate in Milano-the police can't shoot".
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Milian shines in brutal Italian thriller
paul_johnr20 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There was actually a period of time, believe it or not, when Umberto Lenzi showed talent as a director. After reliably cranking out Westerns, adventures, and Second World War flicks during the Sixties, Lenzi coasted into the two most popular film genres of 1970s Italy: the giallo, a crime story that forces audiences to watch unseemly behavior from the felon's point of view, and the poliziottescho, Italy's reaction to a justice system that limited police officers while criminals happily roamed free.

In competition with directors like Enzo G. Castellari and Sergio Sollima, Lenzi has been widely considered as the best maker of Italian police films. 'Almost Human' may certainly rank as Exhibit A in his poliziotteschi output of at least six titles from 1973 to 1979, including 'Rome: armed to the teeth' and 'Violent Naples.' Originally released as 'Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare' (roughly, Odious Milan: the police can't shoot), 'Almost Human' is a true standard of Italian crime, mixing defined characters with a riveting plot and well-crafted action. The 1974 shocker was also a landmark 'B' performance for actor Tomas Milian, who still regards Giulio Sacchi as one of the best efforts in his lengthy career.

Modeled after box office hits like 'Dirty Harry,' 'The French Connection,' and 'Death Wish,' 'Milano odia' is a crime film injected with 1970s Italian truculence. The film opens en route to a bank robbery with Sacchi, a drunk, pill-popping felon, driving the getaway car for a local crime syndicate. Approached by a traffic cop while the robbery is in progress, Sacchi panics and shoots the officer dead, forcing his gang to drive off empty-handed. Giulio is roughed up and fired by the syndicate boss, leaving him without a meal ticket.

Cash-desperate Sacchi arranges to kidnap Mary Lou Perrino (Laura Belli), the 20-year-old daughter of a local businessman, and hold her for ransom at 500 million lira with the help of his friends Vittorio (Gino Santercole) and Carmine (Ray Lovelock). This, of course, means that Sacchi has to wipe out every trace of evidence - living and nonliving - to avoid prison time. In Sacchi's rather limited world, no one is safe, including his two helpers and girlfriend Iona (Anita Strindberg). The dead bodies start piling up and police inspector Walter Grandi (Henry Silva) begins to work against the clock, assured that Mary Lou will die next unless law enforcement goes to extremes.

Umberto Lenzi is known for his gialli, including 'Orgasmo,' 'A Quiet Place to Kill,' 'Oasis of Fear,' and 'Seven Blood-Stained Orchids,' probably his best effort in the genre. But it was Eurocrime that seemed to ideally fit Lenzi's technique and obsessions; he is still well-remembered for titles like 'Milano odia,' filmed before his entire career went to pieces by 1980. 'Milano odia' is a perfect vehicle for his heavy-handed style of direction, moving frantically and never afraid to shock its audiences. It advances in characteristic Italian 'B' fashion with not a page of Ernesto Gastaldi's script lacking malice. Don't expect a happy ending or the slightest civility from this picture; few characters get out of 'Milano odia' unscathed, as people are terrorized, beaten, stabbed, machine-gunned, and forced into sexual transgression. To make matters worse, the nasty behavior unwinds at a constant rate, with law enforcement not having the slightest ability to restore order.

Tomas Milian pulls off a major feat by acting completely over-the-top but never looking comical at the wrong times. Unkempt, unfeeling, rather dumb, and always on edge, Milian renders Giulio Sacchi a sardonic, often funny lowlife who tries to look in control but keeps on betraying his awareness that the roof will come down at any moment. The only 'quality' Sacchi can rely upon is his outrageous behavior, which instills just enough fear in his two partners to stay on top. Gino Santercole and Ray Lovelock are excellent in their supporting roles, providing contrasts to Sacchi's total insanity. As Vittorio, Santercole holds some value in friendship but is no kinder to their hostage then Giulio. Lovelock is the most humanitarian, wanting to grab their ransom while inflicting as few bruises as possible.

Henry Silva gives a solid performance as Inspector Grandi, an intentionally less dynamic form of Harry Callahan. Silva is about the only character we can relate to, because he acts on popular sentiment and takes the law into his own hands. Anita Strindberg and Laura Belli give life to their characters, although Iona's love for Giulio because of his 'size' makes womanhood look rather shallow. Technically speaking, editor Eugenio Alabiso keeps things moving at a nice clip, especially in the opening chase scene, and Ennio Morricone's pounding score is very hard to forget.

'Milano odia' has been released on DVD by NoShame Films and will satisfy fans of Eurocrime. The film boasts widescreen presentation with Dolby enhancement of the original mono audio; the Italian track and English 'dubbing' are supplied with optional English subtitles. Included are the Italian and international trailers, a gallery of posters and production stills, and interviews with Lenzi, Lovelock, Santercole, Gastaldi, and Milian. Also gracing the DVD package is a six-page booklet with historical and biographical information.

The film's print is in excellent condition with little grain; sound is well-coordinated between dialogue, background noise, and music. The interviews explain how the lead cast of 'Milano odia' came together, including Henry Silva's employment after the death of actor Richard Conte (much to Lenzi's annoyance). A bit too much emphasis is placed on the lasting friendship between Milian and Lovelock, when time could have been spent with the two lead actresses. Annoyingly, the case, disc, and booklet contain misspellings which look unprofessional, but NoShame's heart was certainly in the right place. The package is a decent tribute to this wacky film and highly recommended for Eurocrime junkies.

*** out of 4

Roving Reviewer -
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Once upon a time in Italy
Mario Pio7 June 2003
ONCE upon a time in Italy the "poliziottesco" movie. Titles like "Milano odia", "Roma violenta", "Torino nera" ecc. were common and that is significant to understand the 70, with fear of terrorism, austerity after the bachanal of the '60 boom. So, according to the Siegel line, Lenzi creates probably his best movie. Tomas Milian is the ideal actor for that kind of loser, raged agaist the richs but without ideals. Only ferine rage hopelessy. So today this film illustrated well the clime of grey tension of that years. In the days of his issue someone shout that it was a "fascist" movie, only because the cop (Silva) can applies his revenge not as a policeman but as a private citizen...this is a little bit siegelian... The only thing than Lenzi could make better is to realize a more significant characterization for the figure of Henry Silva, wich substantially is marginal in respect of Milian. But we all know that the importance of the movie is based on the shoulder of the loser. All in dark, dirty locations with bad wearing...Once upon a time the '70!!!
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Tarantino precursor
Gero Termine27 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Before watching this movie I thought that it could be a worthless movie, a typical Italian commercial movie like many others. But, after wards I watched it I must have changed my mind. I don't know why I always refused to watch this kind of movies of the 70's. I've been very impressed by the action, the dialogs, the acting. It was like I've been watching an American movie with Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson or any other actor of action-movies. Also I think this movie can be considered a precursor of Tarantino pulp-movies. In fact there is a lot of unjustified blood and sometime it let you think to be hilarious. First of all I must point up how great Tomas Milian is in this movie (he is great in a lot of his other movies too): he got the main role and, thanks of his acting, he keeps the audience stuck to the video all along the movie runtime. The other characters are well played by Henry Silva (the cop who shoots the bad guy at the end of the movie even if he was judged not guilty), Ray Lovelock (the bad guy who falls in love with the kidnapped girl) and Laura Belli (the rich man's daughter).

A great movie.

P.S.: don't let the children watch this movie: there is too much violence!
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Violent Crime/Drama From Umberto Lenzi...
EVOL66611 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Umberto Lenzi, best known (at least among horror fans) for the ultra-gory/ultra-campy CANNIBAL FEROX - brings us a straight-faced and violent crime story with ALMOST HUMAN. Not a lot of "campiness" or silliness in this one, as we're treated to the story of a degenerate criminal and the lengths that he'll go to to get paid...

Giulio is a low-life, low-level criminal who will do anything or kill anyone (and I do mean ANYONE) who gets in his way, including cops, night watchmen, men, women, children, his girlfriend (played by Anita Strindberg - most recognizable from Sergio Martino's YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM...), his "friends", or anyone else that tries to thwart his plans. After botching a job for one of the bigger bosses, Giulio starts setting his sights on a bigger job that will give him a huge pay-day. He settles on a plan to kidnap a rich Official's daughter for a huge ransom. He enlists two of his low-life pals to help out, and the rest of the film is watching the cat-and-mouse kidnapping "game" play out...

ALMOST HUMAN is an enjoyable and competent crime film. The performances are all quite good, there are some decent twists, and for the violence lovers out there - there's plenty of that too. I don't typically watch too much of this sort of thing, but really did enjoy this entry. If violent crime-capers are your thing, you should probably check this one out...8.5/10
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Because it is one of the father of PULP !!!
pollanet22 May 2000
Not an horror film, yes, but one of the best movie about pulp, filmed when Quentin Tarantino's mother blowed his nose yet ! In "Milano Odia" you can view Tomas Milian at his best and director Umberto Lenzi saw "the light" in this ultra-violent movie. See this bad film before it's too late.
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christopher-underwood15 August 2006
Fine performances from all concerned, faultless non stop action direction and a pulsating score from Morricone all means that this super tight sleaze bag of ultra violence cannot fail - and it doesn't. It's not a pretty sight, except perhaps for the one shot of the lakes, with Milan looking about as disgusting as Mr Milian's constant and continuous nastiness. If I take issue at all here it is because it is established early on that the lead nasty is going to stop at nothing to achieve his goal and this leaves out the possibility of suspense or tension. We just know that he will relentlessly pursue his aims no matter who dies. That aside, it has to be said that unpleasant though much of this is it is certainly a most ruthless piece of film-making.
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Clever kidnap thriller
PimpinAinttEasy17 January 2018
ALMOST HUMAN is a really clever kidnap thriller. I found myself rooting for the cunning, wretched, murderous and lecherous Giulio Sacchi (played by Tomas Milan who is unrecognizable after I saw him play an earnest journalist in DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING a couple of days ago). He is a character straight out of a Jim Thompson novel.

After he botches up a bank heist, Guilio hatches a plan to kidnap a rich heiress and demand 0.5 billion as ransom. He commits a string of murders during the kidnapping and hostage taking.

One of the main features of Italian police thrillers is that they pushed the boundaries with regard to what could be put on film. Some of the stuff that the Guilo character pulls off in this film would be frowned upon today.

The film has some great writing filled with witty one liners and jokes. Hope it gets a blu ray release.

Anita Strindberg as Milan's hapless but devoted girlfriend invoked sympathy. I find it hard to take Henry Silva seriously. He is unintentionally hilarious like in Cry of a Prostitute.

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Rise and Fall of Milan's Most Odious Individual
Michael A. Martinez14 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Tomas Milian begins his topsy turvy relationship with Umberto Lenzi in perhaps the duo's classiest pairing, taking more than a little inspiration from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE with Milian playing just as morally bankrupt of an anti-hero.

ALMOST HUMAN (aka MILANO ODIA) really works and contains enough action, violence, nudity, and sharp-witted dialog to keep most B- movie lovers entertained. It's not quite realistic enough and a little too over-the-top to really attract the same foreign film aficionados who would do better with similarly-themed ASHES AND DIAMONDS. In a lot of ways, the ODIA becomes so dark and disturbing (even warranting its release in the United States as a HORROR movie) that things often slingshot back into black comedy.

Milian's main stooge Gino Santercole (dubbed by Michael Forest) gets in most of the funniest lines such as "it was worth killing a couple of people for this money!". He's an interesting character, being a very loyal henchman through and through with little qualms graduating from low level criminal to kidnapper/murderer. The same cannot be said for secondary stooge Lovelock, whose constant crises of conscience make him a subject of amusing taunts by Milian in his most unhinged performance yet.

Somehow, Milian so makes the character believable and human enough... charming, cunning, arrogant, and determined... that he somehow remains likable even after killing and abusing so many people (including his own friends and girlfriend). Strindberg as his middle-aged (though quite fetching) girlfriend isn't the most believable either, but their passionate albeit pathetic excuse for a relationship provides even more interest in this multi-layered movie. Henry Silva's also on-hand as a hard-nosed inspector not-so- hot on Milian's trail, charming in his own way though not enough to make us really root for him.

All in all, it's an interesting film and a little smarter and more plot-driven than you'll usually find in a high octane Italian crime film as the cycle tended to gravitate into the mid-70's. It's one of the few cases though where I'd recommend the slightly edited U.S. version from Joseph Brenner over the Italian as it does inject a little more pathos and creepiness than the Italian version.
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Nasty subject matter all right - but Lenzi makes up for it with style to spare
Leofwine_draca9 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Mistakenly released in the US as a horror film, THE EXECUTIONER (the European title) is one of Umberto Lenzi's first crime flicks, pairing up two of the biggest names in Italian polizia cinema - Henry Silva and Tomas Milian. This also happens to be Lenzi's most sadistic crime film of all, miles ahead of even the gruesome violence in VIOLENT NAPLES and the cold brutality of THE CYNIC, THE RAT AND THE FIST. It's a downbeat, nihilistic tale of a kidnapping gone horrifically wrong and a weaselly, immensely hateable street thug turned gang boss, as played by Tomas Milian. Lenzi concentrates on his political themes of the poor revenging themselves on the rich as a basis for Milian's character and once again we're "treated" to scenes of the upper class being abused, humiliated, and mercilessly killed by lower-class street thugs.

This was Milian's first time playing a really nasty bad guy, a slimy, slightly insane criminal, and it was a role he would revisit throughout his "polizia" films, whether playing a crippled hunchback or a slick greasy gangster boss. He's scarily good in the role, creating a character you really love to hate, and puts his all into the performance. Some might call him hammy but his mannerisms and delivery of dialogue are spot on for me, a really memorable villain and one of the best - or is that worst - in the genre. Amongst other activities, Milian kills a security guard for what amounts to a couple of pennies; machine-guns a man in cold-blood; turns a mild-mannered robber into a murderous thug through the use of drugs; enters a house party and rapes then violently massacres the inhabitants; and bumps off loads more people by the time the credits role.

This is hardly cheerful entertainment, but Lenzi makes it watchable thanks to assembling a large degree of talent both in front of and behind the camera. Technically, the film is superior with good camera-work and some excellent scenes of action, including the fine opening car chase (footage from this turned up in later Lenzi flicks) and plenty of shootings and what-not. Between the action there's plenty of suspense and hot tempers to keep things gripping. The film is pretty bloody and gory in places, earning Lenzi's reputation for violence, and the action is bolstered by a strong Morricone score.

The familiar Euro-cult cast includes the beautiful Laura Belli playing the unfortunate kidnap victim; giallo regular Anita Strindberg as Milian's girlfriend, and Ray Lovelock as the young, inexperienced gang member. Stealing his scenes is an ever-present Henry Silva as the grimly determined police Inspecter Grandi, following Milian's trail of destruction right through to the end. Another fine performance from Silva here with plenty of hard stares and snappy dialogue as he chases after the villains. Finally, bringing up the rear are soon-to-be-Lenzi regulars including Bruno Corazzari, playing a policeman this time, and Luciano Catenacci as yet another violent bad guy, but no moustache yet. Despite the grim and unpleasant subject matter, Lenzi has created yet another madly entertaining and intermittently exciting crime flick of huge appeal to genre fans.
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I Agree!!
H Lime-28 August 1999
I agree with a previous reviewer. This is a deadly dull Italian crime film which was billed in the USA as a horror movie. When I saw this film (in the Massapequa, NY multiplex) it was one of only two times in my life that I have walked out on a movie, that's how bad it was. Avoid this at all costs!!!
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This is not a HORROR film!
William14 April 1999
Joseph Brenner releasing done it again! The got a 1974 Italian crime-drama and advertised it as a Monster/Horror film! Played only in one drive-in in Seattle with a small ad, "Almost Human" is a boring kidnapping film that has a sleazy thug (Thomas Milian, who seems to lost his leading man good guys roles in the late 70's) and his two henchmans (one of them played by Ray Lovelock, who looks bored) kidnapping a girl and held her for ransom. Henry Silva playing a good guy cop not hot on their trail! The ending sucks, and any Italian action fans will be bored to death. The film is noisy, dull, and very badly put together. Milian, a ex-action leading men went on to do worse in ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON (unbilled in the U.S. print) playing a hunchback bad guy, looking sleazy as ever! Kind of miss the guy playing the good guy role, but seeing this film, I kind of wish he and Silva did another Umberto Lenzi film instead. Don't see this bad films.
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