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Opening with a funky 70's concert presumably in Italy, DEATH RAGE is an
obscure Italian knockoff of the American action flick starring Yul
Brynner in one of his final film performances. Brynner is really the
only good reason to watch this movie, as there is very little special
about it beyond that. Barbara Bouchet, Brynner's leading lady, is very
sexy and does show a lot of skin, so there is some eye candy.
Unfortunately, Brynner and Bouchet, in terms of acting, have almost no
chemistry together (according to the trivia section at IMDb, they did
not get along on the set--it shows).
For those not familiar with Italian cinema during the 70's and 80's, keep in mind that the dubbing is never well done in these kinds of movies. The main focus is watching Brynner being a badass (which he does exceptionally well), watching Bouchet's body, and seeing lots of gunfights, car chases, and explosions. The plot is nothing new, and some of the dialogue is out-and-out stolen from other films. The special effects are standard for the time, and there is some animation featured during Brynner's flashback sequences (the "Death Rage" from the title).
The movie follows retired hit-man Peter Marciani (Brynner), whose brother was, once upon a time, killed by the Mafia. He is lured out of retirement to hunt the man responsible for his brother's death, and travels to Italy, where he meets a goofy young wannabe named Angelo (Massimo Ranieri). Angelo shows him to his method for manipulating horse races, then takes him to a nightclub where Marciani is introduced to exotic dancer Anny (Bouchet). With his companions by his side, Marciani avoids death and struggles with his eye condition while trying to bring down the mob.
If interested in watching this movie, I strongly suggest searching for it online; it is public domain, and should be available for free. It is also included in various dollar-bin versions and 50 movie boxed-sets.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I found Death Rage to be a fun little Euro-crime movie that's much
better than it's reputation would suggest (or at least better than many
of the reviews I've read). Yul Brynner plays Peter Marciani, an aging
hit-man hired to go to Italy to kill a mob boss. At first he refuses
until he learns that his intended target is responsible for his
brother's death. Along the way, he meets and befriends a young, overly
helpful, wannabe mobster and a beautiful showgirl. Can these three pull
off the job?
Quite simply, Yul Brynner is the man! He brings a certain authenticity and coolness to Marciani and makes most of the film a blast. I bought into his hit-man persona completely. When confronted by two hoods wanting to take him to see their boss, Marciani calmly says "If I were you, I'd shoot." One of the hoods tells Marciani that he's worth more alive. Marciani's response "If I were you I'd still shoot". How classic is that! Death Rage also features a number of exciting car chases and gun battles in the narrow street of Naples. These scenes are exciting and very well done.
The film co-stars Barbara Bouchet. For the most part, she is underutilized and most of the scenes involving her are too predictable. You just know that at some point the bad guys are going to use her to get to Marciani. Also, I never really believed the relationship between Marciani and Bouchet's character. The two made a ridiculous looking couple.
Finally, I can't really end this without mentioning the subplot involving a problem with Marciani's eyes that, I suppose, relate to the film's title in some way. These scenes are pointless and go nowhere. Can you say "padding"?
While I've rated Death Rage a 6/10, I'm almost positive that my rating would change if I ever have the opportunity to see an uncut copy of the film. My copy of Death Rage has a runtime more than 15 minutes less than that listed on IMDb.
The "Chilling Classics" 50-movie pack was staring me down like a salivating jackal as I stood in the horror aisle of Circuit City, contemplating the pros (50 movies for dirt cheap!) and cons (probably crap quality as a result). My inner consumer scanned the titles on the back of the package, and was intrigued enough to hand over the greenbacks. First flick: "Death Rage," a Naples-set crime thriller starring stoic bald superman Yul Brynner, an ex-hit man who is brought back into the world of organized crime to avenge his brother's murder--car chases ensue; an unlikely pupil is taught the ways of contract killing; a blonde sex kitten (Barbara Bouchet, from "Don't Torture a Duckling") falls for our chrome-domed hero; and Martin Balsam shows up to pay the rent. Director Anthony M. Dawson (really Antonio Margheriti) keeps the pace moving along, and stages some good (if ridiculously unrealistic) action sequences. And Brynner's performance is a wooden hoot... While "Death Rage" is hardly brilliant, it is low-budget, low-down fun.
When you think of Yul Brynner nine times out of ten it's his roles in
either The Ten Commandments, Magnificent Seven or the King & I. Lucky
for him that his mailed-in performances at the end of his career are so
forgetful that they do little to mar his reputation. Death Rage is one
of these movies.
Yul Brynner plays former mob hit-man Peter Marciani that has flashbacks of the murder of his brother. The so-called "Death Rage" appears as an epileptic red montage of his brother's death superimposed over Peter's face whenever something reminds him of that fateful day. At one point in the movie it is proposed that Peter suffers from glaucoma as evidenced by his "eye medicine" however he is then told by an optometrist that nothing is wrong with his eyes and that perhaps the problem is mental. Whether this was deemed necessary to flesh out the story remains a mystery to me because it never factors into the movie. Obviously his sight is fine due to the fact that he's an amazingly accurate shot and the flashbacks do not in any way alter his demeanor. You might as well have named the movie Serious Bald Hit-man and been done with it.
The cast also includes Massimo Ranieri as Angelo, Peter's eager beaver apprentice who tries very hard to impress him. One of Angelo's gifts to Peter is the introduction to Amy played by the gorgeous Barbara Bouchet. She instantly falls head over-heels in love with Peter and provides the few scenes worth viewing as she is topless in a strip club and fully nude in a following hotel scene. This, it appears to me, is the only reason this movie was given an R rating as the violence is the soft side. Martin Balsam rounds out the cast as, guess this, an Italian commissario! I'm sure Mr. Balsam cashed all of his checks thinking to himself if at some point he would still get paid for playing the same character.
The reason I think so lowly of Death Rage is because it is boring and forgettable. Two sins that supersede production value, sound editing, or poor acting that plagued many seventies flicks. To top it all off, Dino DeLaurentis released basically the same movie three years before this called Frank & Tony starring Lee Van Cleef of spaghetti western fame as Mean Frank and his entertaining sidekick wannabe Tony LoBianco as Crazy Tony. Watch that one instead.
Before surrendering himself completely to touring with The King And I
as completely as Bela Lugosi surrendered to being Dracula or James
O'Neill surrendered to being The Count of Monte Cristo, Yul Brynner
made this final farewell screen appearance in this very mediocre
Along for the ride on this wild turkey is Barbara Bouchet as Brynner's gangster girl friend, Martin Balsam as the Italian police inspector in Naples and Italian pop star Massimo Ranieri as Brynner's apprentice hit-man.
Brynner is a retired hit-man that gets brought back into the active Mafia by news that a top Naples crime boss ordered and carried out a hit on Brynner's brother. Brynner leaves New York and plots his revenge.
All that distinguishes Death Rage is some nice location cinematography of Naples in the mid seventies. All those seventies fashions are there as well, I can hardly believe I wore some of that. The Americans look bored and just walk through the roles, the Italian players are poorly dubbed in English.
Death Rage is for die-hard fans of Yul Brynner only.
Just in case you didn't know it yet, Yul Brynner isn't the type of guy you want to mess with! This charismatic tough bastard starred in a whole lot of western & war movie classics and wasted the lives of approximately a thousand bad guys on screen. Being a big fan of his macho style, I loved to see him star in a typically violent crime-thriller, particularly because this an Italian crime-thriller and those guys always add more of the red stuff and sleaze! The plot of "Death Rage" is unimportant and routing Mafia & Revenge guff, but the car chase sequences are exhilarating and the wild shootouts are truly blood-soaked (at least in the uncut version...). The events are set in Italy mainly on the horse racecourse where the American hit-man Peter Marciana has come out of retirement especially to kill the gangster boss who was responsible for the death of his beloved brother. Peter gets entangled in the local mafia network, falls in love with a ravishing strip bar dancer (Barbara Bouchet!) and makes a young and spirited thug his hit-man-acolyte. This last sub plot is stolen directly from the Charles Bronson flick "The Mechanic", but who cares, as every fan knows that Italian cinema loves to borrow ideas from popular American blockbusters. Yul Brynner is still the total definition of coolness, even though he clearly didn't put too much passion into his performance of the ageing assassin. His bald head, his eyes (that appear to malfunction) and his sneaky smile are enough to make his character convincing! Martin Balsam is another veteran actor whose character isn't really important, but it's still very nice to have him around. Antonio Margheriti is in my humble opinion Italy's most underrated cult director and "Death Rage" is another amiable effort in his repertoire.
Peter Marciani's brother was killed by the mafia. Now Marciani is traveling to Italy to kill his brother's murderer and he is going to take out his mob one man at a time. Low-budget revenge flick similar to The Punisher movies as far as plot. Slow paced, but peppered with some nice shoot-outs and car chases. I thought it was a fun little movie. Yul Brenner playing Marciani really makes the movie. Martin Balsam was good as the police inspector. The only problem was that their wasn't much characterization on the female lead Anny. Worth a look at if you like movies like The Punisher, other people might want to stay away. ** out of ****
When a mobster is assassinated in Naples by the gangsters of Gennaro
Gallo (Giancarlo Sbragia), the retired hit-man Peter Marciani (Yul
Brynner) learns that Gallo was the responsible for the murder of his
brother. He travels from New York to Italy to revenge his brother and
he hires the smalltime crook Angelo (Massimo Ranieri) to work for him.
Angelo introduces Peter to the dancer Anny (Barbara Bouchet) and they
have a love affair. Meanwhile the Italian police inspector (Martin
Balsam) unsuccessfully tries to anticipate Peter's move.
"Con la rabbia agli occhi", a.k.a. "Death Rage", is a deceptive thriller with Yul Brynner. The unoriginal story uses clichés most of the time with a poor development of characters. The shameful Brazilian DVD released by the Cult Classic distributor has worn out image and is awfully dubbed in English. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Na Trilha da Morte" ("On the Trail of the Death")
Death Rage is a poliziotteschi about a retired hit-man (Yul Brynner) who decides to take one last job to avenge the murder of his brother by a mafia gang; he is assisted by an eager young would-be mobster. This is a fairly routine plot-line with no surprises. Yul Brynner plays the role well enough but his character isn't especially interesting. He does suffer from debilitating flash-backs of the killing of his brother; this is shown on screen by an odd red graphic. It's maybe the most interesting idea in the film but it doesn't really ultimately go anywhere, similarly the bad eye-condition that Brynner suffers isn't developed in any way, and feels just like padding. The movie does have an extended car chase and quite a bit of gun-play, so it does at least attempt to keep the action flowing. The problem is more in that the story isn't very dynamic and the villain doesn't seem to do very much or pose too much of a threat, so it's hard to get very involved. The film does also star Martin Balsam in a pretty clichéd role as a police commissario. Much more interesting is the inclusion of Barbara Bouchet as a stripper. This cult Euro actress is a great asset to any film that I have seen her in, and this film is no exception. But, despite being naked quite a lot, she isn't really utilized very well. Overall, this is not a film that comes especially recommended but as a basic crime-thriller it's passably entertaining.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILERS** Being contacted by a top Mafia hood, Cannavale, from his
hometown of Naples Peter, Maricania, Yul Brynner, spending his
retirement years fishing on the Brooklyn waterfront is told if he's
interested to do one last hit on gangster Gennare Gallo, the man who
murdered his brother. The hit on Gallo has of course nothing to do with
Peter's brothers killing. It has to do with his hoods knocking off one
of Cannavale's men at the Naple's trotter racetrack. The fact that
Peter is told that he in fact did kill his brother makes Peter quickly
get a plane ticket to Naples and check out Gallo's pad getting
everything together to put the hit on him.
It just so happens that Peter soon runs into young and wanting to make it big with the mob Angelo, Massimo Renieri. Angelo tries to impress the world famous hit-man with his ability to pick winners at the race track. Peter at once realizes what a fake Angelo is when he sees his way of picking winners is. Hiding in a shack and shooting the soon to be winning horse with an air-gun causing him,or her, to brake and end up being disqualify by the racing officials. While the horse that he picks cruises first across the finish line! You wonder why Peter was so quick to pick this up Angelo's cheating and the racing officials, who for what seemed like months, who's job it is to spot these things couldn't? where they all in together in this scam with Angelo?
Gallo knowing that Peter is out to get him dispatches a number of his hood to get Peter. It's Gallo's boys who end up taking gas with two of them getting it in the Naples subway system, by being run over and killed, and one at a local cemetery who ends up being a resident there permanently. Another one of Gallo's hoodlums is himself done in by Gallo's right hand man at the Gallo estate for him screwing up the hit at the racetrack. That of the American mobster, with two of his associates ,getting shot that brought Peter to Naples to put the hit on Gallo in the first place.
The movie at first moves at a snails pace until we have a couple of exciting but mindless foot and car chase scenes as well as shootouts. We also have Peter getting introduced to Angalo's, by Angelo, girlfriend disco dancer Anny, Barbara Bouchet, who gets it on with the sexy hit-man and has a number of wild spins in bed, that were unfortunately edited out in the films and later DVD US release, with him. Anny is also beaten up by two of Gallo's thugs who attempt to kidnap her. There's also the always reliable to be a pain in one's butt, whenever he's in a movie, the overly annoying Martin Balsam as the Commissario. Who's alway getting in the way of Peters work, in and out of bed, and more or less makes an absolute nuisance of himself to everyone,including the audience, in the movie by just being in it.
After almost an hour into the movie we finally get what exactly Peter is planning and it has to do with the wet behind the ears Angelo. Angelo is, unknowingly, being groomed by him to take his place as a top hit-man. As you would expect the kid screws it all up by not being able to knock off Gallo as planned at a New Years party that has Peter, who at the same time knew that young Angelo wasn't up to it, suddenly and unannounced show up and do the job himself.
Were then given another, like so many before in the film, mindless chase scene with Peter, who was badly wounded by Gallo's bodyguard's, knocking off about a half dozen of Gallo's men with him ending up dead for all the trouble he went through. Not only to get Gallo but at the same time make a clean getaway. In fact it was the inexperienced Angelo who made good his escape and at the same time not reveal himself, like Peter did, to Gallo's men. Angelo didn't at all disappoint his dead friend and teacher Peter. Were given this twist ending that takes place at Peter's funeral that was about as surprising as a horse-racing aficionado finding out who won last years Kentucky Darby.
Actually Yul Brynner's last top staring role and for all the movies faults, which are many, he's really the only reason, with the sexy Barbara Bouchet's nude scenes cut out of the movie, to watch it.
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