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A biker's brother is killed while investigating the kidnapping of a young boy, the byproduct of a war between two crime families. The biker vows to get revenge by finding the kidnapped boy and destroying the two families. Written by
With films such as "Almost Human" (1974) and "Rome Armed to the Teeth" (1976) there is no doubt that Umberto Lenzi is (along with Fernando Di Leo) the absolute master of Italian crime cinema. And Tomas Milian, one of my personal favorite actors, is doubtlessly one of the greatest actors in Italian Cult-cinema in general. While "Il Giustiziere Sfida La Città" aka. "Syndicate Sadists" of 1975 is not nearly as memorable as their earlier collaboration, the nasty, brutal and downright brilliant "Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare" aka. "Almost Human" of 1974, this is yet another bad-ass, action packed and incredibly entertaining Poliziottesco from the director/star team Lenzi/Milian.
Funnily enough Milian plays a supremely bad-ass biker named 'Rambo', seven years before Vietnam vet Sylvester Stallone drew first blood in 1982. This Rambo is a super-cool full-bearded drifter with remarkable shooting- and fighting-skills, who comes back to his hometown Milan where a buddy wants to talk him into joining a security firm. When his buddy gets killed by gangsters, things get personal...
Before becoming a major Poliziotteschi-star, Tomas Milian was already a star of Italian Westerns. The storyline of this film, in which the (anti-)hero plays two criminal gangs against each other, is derived from that of Sergio Leone's milestone "Per Un Pugno Di Dollari" ("A Fistful of Dollars", 1964), which itself was inspired by Akiro Kurosawa's masterpiece "Yojimbo" (1961). A similar storyline was used in several other Spaghetti Westerns, most notably Sergio Corbucci's "Django" (1966); With this film, Umberto Lenzi takes it to modern-day Milan. Even the film's score occasionally reminded me of (a funky 70s version of) Morricone's score to Leone's "Once Upon A Time In The West". "Il Giustiziere Sfida La Città" is neither quite as ultra-brutal and uncompromising, nor as essential a genre-entry as some of Lenzi's most memorable Poliziotteschi, "Almost Human", "Rome Armed to the Teeth" and also "Violent Naples", but it is definitely a highly entertaining film that lovers of Itlian Cult-cinema should not miss out on. The film is very well-shot, and full of violent shootouts, car chases, fights and the usual dose of enjoyable bad-assery. Tomas Milian is beyond cool, and the 70-year-old Joseph Cotten makes an excellent elderly crime boss. The rest of the cast includes many regulars, such as Luciano Catenacci, Guido Alberti, Luciano Pigozzi and Giuseppe Castellano. Rambo's girlfriend is played by sexy Femi Benussi, who sadly keeps her clothes on in this one. Overall, "Il Giustiziere Sfida La Città" is not one of Lenzi's masterpieces, but it is definitely a highly entertaining Poliziottesco that is especially recommendable for a supremely bad-ass Tomas Milian, and that shouldn't be missed by genre-fans.
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