A bomb attack in a cinema in Palermo kills all the fellows of Attardi's clan a part from Cocchi. He immediately understands that the author of the bomb attack is Daniello from Don ... See full summary »
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Fernando Di Leo
Tony, a mob loan collector, is dissatisfied with his station in life. Though he dreams of one day being rich, he is stuck with the dead-end job of beating up borrowers who fall behind in ... See full summary »
Umberto Lenzi was the Italian director responsible for delivering the hands down most exhilarating, gratuitously violent and smuttiest Poliziotesschi thrillers of the 1970s, but his colleague Fernando Di Leo was the genius who arguably made the ones with the best screenplays, most unsettling atmospheres and most intriguingly profound character drawings. Evidence for this opinion/statement can be found in his vastly superior crime trilogy (containing the masterworks "Milano Calibro 9", "La Mala Ordina" and "Il Boss") but further proof also comes from this truly overpowering "Il Poliziotto è Marcio" aka "Shoot First, Die Later". Di Leo's films are slightly more qualitative and memorable because he thinks outside of the box and continuously adds new elements to the successful Poliziotesschi formula that he co-created himself. Lenzi's films, for example, are mostly straightforward thrillers in which one unbreakable super-cop (usually Maurizio Merli) battles against entire crime networks but also against the corrupt political system. Domenico Malacarne, the protagonist here, is an utterly corrupt detective himself! The original Italian title is therefore a lot more meaningful as the popular international title; as it literally translates as "The Cop is Rotten" and even the anti- hero's last name (meaning "bad meat") gives a good indication of the story content.
Malacarna is the most successful lieutenant of his Milanese precinct and often gets applauded by his superiors as well as in the local press for uncovering minor drug-trafficking rings and arresting small time crooks. His dark secret, however, is that he simultaneously works as informant for the local mafia boss Pascal and his nefarious attorney Mazzanti. When the mafia starts demanding favors that are even for Malacarna too immoral, his whole empire falls apart and his loved ones become endangered. It may sound unusual, perhaps, but the strongest moments in "Shoot First, Die Later" are the dramatic and emotional scenes rather than the violent ones. Notably the sequences where Malacarne's proud and deep-honest father discovers the truth and gets confronted with the true nature of his beloved son are intense and genuinely painful to observe. Of course, Di Leo never forgets that he's busy making an unhinged Poliziotesschi and thus the film is luckily also full action and brutality, including two virulent car chases, shocking annihilations and senseless cruelty (poor kitten!). Luc Merenda ("The Violent Professionals", "Kidnap Syndicate") is sublime as the simultaneously loathsome and charming anti-hero, and he receives good support from the entire ensemble cast. The intelligent script, in combination with Di Leo's craftsmanship and the smooth soundtrack (Luis Bacalov) make this a top-10/must-see Poliziotesschi.
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