Shoot First, Die Later (1974) Poster

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Great crime thriller - a must for fans of the genre!
andell-223 September 2013
Funky soundtracks, delicious 70's fashion styles, macho men living life in the fast lane and dames so exquisite even you might consider a life of crime. There are many reasons to love the Italian crime movies of the 70's. They have a certain lovable charm. They can be funny but they can also be nihilistic and grim.

You never know who will live or die. In the world of Italian gangster flicks no-one is safe. The love interest, the children, the parents, even the hero himself and everyone who is around him are in constant danger of meeting a cruel and painful death at any moment. Because of this you get very tense and unforeseeable plots that will have you sitting on the edge of the seat until the credits roll down the screen.

"Shoot first, die later" is also one of the better titles of the genre. So you should definitely check it out. It might be a little talky for some people but it never gets boring. The plot is simple but perfectly executed and there is always something exiting happening to keep my interest.

There are a couple of nice car-chases, a few explosions and some standard gunfare but the true excitement lies in the tense and emotional plot. Luc Merenda is no Fabio Testi but he delivers a solid performance as the corrupt cop who get tangled in a increasingly bleak situation that might be the end for both himself and those who stand him near. He is actually quite perfect for movies of this type. Di Leo, probably the best director in the genre, have once again delivered a great crime movie that should be seen by everyone who is even remotely interested in the world of Italian action-thrillers.

I love these movies and if you are into this stuff you should definitely check out the two volumes of Fernando Di Leo crime collection (amongst others this movie is found in this collection) put out on both DVD and blu-ray by Raro Video. The Blu-rays look and feel great and they are reasonably cheap to buy. So i would absolutely recommend those collections even for newcomers. Now i am of to watch another one and dream of the next GTA title paying homage to the Itallian crime genre ala Vice City for "Scarface" and "Miami Vice". I can tell you that i would be first in line to get a taste of that. It could be titled something like "GTA: Roma Violencia"... ooooh i would like that.
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Superior spaghetti Polar
manu29 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
*Minor spoiler in the following comment*

A very good "spaghetti polar" from the talented director Fernando DiLeo. Luc Merenda isn't the best leading man of the genre but the rest of the cast is first rate, so is the inevitable car chase occurring in the middle of the story.

There is also an interesting look at police corruption in Italy - a theme very sensitive at that time there, I guess - delivered by an intelligent script and a main character very well drawn.

And, of course, there's also a huge amount of violence in it and a very dark conclusion.
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Papa's Got a Brand New Body Bag
radiobirdma1 August 2016
Though generally a tad overrated (neither Milano Calibro 9 nor Il Boss are the transgressive "masterpieces" some Italocinema fetishists want them to be), so-called "cult" director Fernando di Leo manages to strike some grippingly dissonant chords in Shoot First, Die Later, the original title being less sensationalistic than bone dry: The Rotten Cop. While most poliziotteschi are essentially feelgood movies, the degenerates and lowlifes getting what they justly deserve, this one marches to an entirely different drum. At its core a father-son story – the excellent Salvo Randone playing Pops to the opposite of leading beau Luc Merenda –, it's a cynical morality play about a model cop appropriately named Malacarne (literally meaning "bad meat") who feels perfectly comfortable with being on the payroll of the mafia until things go terribly awry: Unlike the cheap-thrills roller coaster violence of other Eurocrime movies, the stark brutality here comes across as callous, pitiless, not even nasty, but unpleasant through and through; actually, the two car chases, skillfully done by stunt coordinator Rémy Julienne, feel like a concession to the regular poliziotto crowd. In its acidly sarcastic Weltanschauung and the complete lack of redeeming qualities, Shoot First, Die Later is doubtless more akin to the cinema of Rosi, Damiani or Elio Petri than to the staccato over-the-top action of Castellari or Lenzi: A doom loop of human failings.
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A pretty good Poliziotteschi.
BA_Harrison8 September 2017
I'm not the biggest fan of the Poliziotteschi genre, frequently finding the 'cops versus bad guys' formula rather dull, but Shoot First, Die Later is actually very entertaining, its 'dirty' cop protagonist being far more interesting than a traditional 'good guy'.

As played by Luc Merenda, Lieutenant Domenico Malacarne is a celebrated Milanese cop who is actually on the take from the mafia. But when the gangsters begin to ask a little more of him than he is willing to give, things take a turn for the worse, with those closest to Malacarne paying the price for the cop's shady shenanigans.

Director Fernando Di Leo expertly balances the drama with action, delivering a movie that is both gripping and exciting. Malacarne's relationship with his father—who is devastated when he learns of his son's misconduct—provides the emotional heart of the movie, while two well executed car chases and some shootouts get the adrenaline pumping. The film also features plenty of brutal violence, including two shocking murders and the senseless killing of a cat!

A suitably nihilistic finale rounds off the movie in style. 7/10 – Highly recommended for fans of the genre, and still well worth a watch for those who aren't.
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"Bad Meat" is Rotten!
Coventry20 November 2017
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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Pretty good example of its genre
Wizard-824 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
With the English title of this movie being "Shoot First, Die Later", and the art on the DVD case depicting someone's head exploding from a gun shot, some people may expect this to be an action packed movie. But it really isn't. It's mostly a serious drama about police corruption. However, don't let that fact discourage you from watching this movie, because it's pretty good. Although the serious parts of the movie could have used a little more work (there is, in my opinion, not enough focus on the father/son relationship), it does all the same end up interesting, mainly because its tone is very cynical, which makes it very memorable. Although there's a lot of talk, director Fernando Di Leo does go from scene to scene pretty quickly, so there are no slow spots. And when the action does come, it's very memorable, particularly the car chase sequence in the first fifteen minutes of the movie. If you have a taste for European crime movies from the 1970s, more likely than not you'll find this offering more than decent.
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