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Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot
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Reviews & Ratings for
They Call Me Jeeg Robot More at IMDbPro »Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (original title)

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Have you ever seen a superhero in Rome? Never, until now.

Author: clakappa from Italy
29 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Courageous debut for Mainetti, who has chosen a genre unfamiliar to Italian cinema. Due to budget limitations, focusing on characters and environment was the only route to take, and that was managed pretty well, adapting the classic superhero movies plot to Italy (specifically Rome) background: there aren't people who want to save or conquer the world, just people that struggle to go on living among criminals and Camorra bosses. Filthy Tevere river, filthy rooms and filthy souls. All the main characters live at the margin of society, a society that refuses them and doesn't give a chance to change their condition. Enzo is a low grade thief who has lost all hopes on society and on its own life, living day to day with no ambitions, eating yogurt and watching porn movies, and uses the superpowers casually granted to him just to repeat his habits over and over. Alessia is a girl with a mental disorder who escapes reality by continuously watching the Jeeg Robot anime and relating everything to it. Zingaro (the Gypsy) is trying to find his place on the world (Rome) by achieving fame, failing with usual ephemeral means through TV shows, and now trying to be the most known and feared criminal (again, in Rome). "Normal" people seem to live in another universe, behind a one way mirror: Enzo watches and despises them, while they pretend not to see him and , in general, the horrors of the world. This situation is interrupted only by terrorist attacks, that recall those that in Italy are called Years of Lead, and later by Enzo's switch towards "good". It's really amazing the constant tie to reality that the movie has, despite the superpowers: common streets, common people, common criminals and common situations (the first good action of Enzo is saving a little girl involved in a car accident). Good acting for the 3 main roles: Santamaria and Pastorelli (i was surprised by her, since she came from Italian Big Brother reality show, i had my doubts) did a great work, Marinelli shines in his villain role. Solid direction from Mainetti with a couple scenes i personally liked: Zingaro assault on Camorra clan and the scenes on Enzo's house where Jeeg was screened on the wall. Soundtrack consists mostly of years '80 Italian pop music, and i find it fitting. Script is where the movie has some weaknesses, the plot is too straightforward (but as i said before, that's most likely a choice), and the final confrontation didn't convince me. Interesting references to other movies, even Kill Bill, and of course the Jeeg anime. As a side note, since Mainetti knows well Japan animes as they inspired some of his previous works, i wonder if that's the same for Japanese new wave directors. I noticed some similarities with Sion Sono's themes: dysfunctional families, psychological and physical abuses, violence as a mean of self-awareness, technology amplifying or leading to delusions and solitude. If that's the case, that's for sure a great addition. Once, something considered impossible happened: Italy mastered and created his own Western genre, passing through Japan. I don't know if this will happen with superheroes, but this movie surely marks a good starting point.

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19 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot - Review

Author: cristina from Italy
25 April 2016

In the attempt of hiding from the police, Enzo Ceccotti, a small street criminal, jumps in the very polluted river Tevere; a few days after he'll discover to have acquired extraordinary powers.

I'm sure that it will not be easy to fully comprehend the beauty of this movie if you don't understand the complexity of the contemporary Italy. This movie depicts perfectly a country full of contradictions: a breath-taking city envied all over the world that hides a degraded outskirt deep inside; a generation of children stuck in their grown ups bodies with their vanilla puddings and their Japanese anime on local TV channels; a criminal class that fluctuates from the ridiculousness to the ruthlessness to whom money has the same importance than popularity and Youtube visualization numbers; and a criminal with no emotional bonds, values or reasons to do good (that would not inspire empathy in any other superhero movies), is saved from an unexpected "damsel in distress" and becomes the hero of a community that often looks hopeless to those who live here every day but that sometimes, unexpectedly, finds its superpowers in the common people, the real heroes of this crazy, misunderstood country.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A superhero movie with Italian style

Author: fabiosciarra-1 from Italy
10 March 2016

Gabriele Mainetti has made a quite unusual movie for Italian standard. With an outstanding cinematography and a very good acting, he takes us among "Roma sud" outskirts where a neorealistic superhero and a psychopath villain fight to survive their doomed daily lives. As all good graphic novel teach us, this kind of story need a strong philosophy between the lines, that can't be just replaced with some romantic- even if well done- moments. Too bad: "Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot" just lack strong dialogues and quote to be perfect in its own class. In fact, even if actors are perfect in their own roles, all dialogues target their force overall on roman slang, leaving me a little bit disappointed. Because the movie shows some very violent and bizarre scenes, someone in Italy compared Mainetti style to Tarantino's one. I hope next time Mainetti will borrow from Tarantino not just the violence but also the art of writing script and dialogues strong enough for a superhero movie.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Superpowers, Italian Style

Author: Alison from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
30 July 2016

Enzo (Claudio Santamaria) is a small-town crook in Rome, stealing purses and taking on small jobs with other crooks just to get by; after one such incident, he finds himself being chased by the cops and the only way to escape them is to jump into the Tiber River. Unfortunately for him, the place where he jumps conceals a number of barrels containing toxic waste, and one of them has been leaking. He suddenly finds himself with superpowers, and uses them to steal for himself until one day he meets Alessia (Ilenia Pastorelli), a young woman lost in a fantasy world featuring the Japanese anime Steel Jeeg. She convinces him to use his powers for good, but she doesn't know that a super-villain, Fabio (Luca Marinelli), wants to subvert Enzo for his own ends…. This film is a hoot, a shout-out to Italy's 1970s love affair with the (real) "Steel Jeeg" anime from Japan, and a gritty tale from the dark belly of the big city all at the same time, and all done with exquisite Italian flare. (Fabio, for example, has a fabulous dress sense and has a small-time claim to fame as a one-time contestant on a TV talent show, which everyone mistakes for the Italian version of "Big Brother.") There's lots of action, of course, but also a quieter story of how Enzo gains superpowers which lead to him gaining his soul. This movie won a bunch of Italian film awards, and it's easy to see why - it's by turns charming, brutal, thrilling and tender. Anyone familiar with the genre will know from the beginning how it will end, but the journey itself is a terrific ride, and lots of fun!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

off beat chaotic little gem

Author: Clevertimfish from Merseyside UK
27 November 2016

this is a slow, somewhat disjointed little number. it holds an enjoyable darkness that keeps you just out of your comfort zone.

better subtitles would have helped along with less random plot lines, however there is a lot to make up for that, it is cleverly filmed and you are left with a feeling for a grimy cheap world of an Italian underclass.

the psychopath is a delight and the random criminal activities lurched from surreal to weird without quite hitting the mainstream.

I would recommend it of you are looking for something a little different from the usual mainstream pap.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: ( from Ankara, Turkey
10 November 2016

awesome... 'cause its really different in any dimension, mind you this movie before than "deadpool", and if you like it, that is the answer.

moreover, beyond than the level of dark humor and the human touch...

the crazy chick in the movie seems well acted, front line impressions are surround us, confuse us.

my comment ended up here, but you know i need ten stupid lines to show you so, the bad guy so obsessive like exaggerated form of anyone of us, a bit social-media mania evolved here with a good tastes.

the main character, namely anti-hero "jeeg" actually hurt so bad, but its not the focal point, psychologically this generate more fun factor then character transferred to audience more emphatic stance, especially in the second part of that movie.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot: a (very) Good Italian Film.

Author: niutta-enrico from Italy
6 October 2016

A very good film, not afraid of showing on the screen the ugly people we are. This looked like a real National product to me, devoid of major foreign influences: it recalled much more of Pasolini's suburbs or of Pazienza's bad boys than of Deadpool or Kick-Ass. Which is something I liked very much.

A catching opening scene, a solid plot, some very good actors and a great villain (Fabbio: Luca Marinelli won a David for this performance) will make you overlook some lack of craftsmanship in special effects or in action scenes.

And originality is priceless. So sometimes is good to diverge from International main stream, I guess. Enjoy.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

For PULP / HERO movie fans this film not to be missed!

Author: ryanlegolas from Italy
31 March 2016

Gabriele Mainetti? A cinematic genius who has created a film worthy of note with a cast of characters made ​​to measure.

Plot, scores,sets and actors joined local interpretation make the winning feature film.

Rating? Above my expectations, so I booked the ticket immediately for second screening.

I love Pulp and Film Heroes, two kinds nonexistent in Italian film productions.

Big Gabriele Mainetti.

Cheers !!

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:


Author: James De Bello from Italy
30 September 2016

Enzo Ceccoti (Claudio Santamaria) is a small time thief living in the poor suburbs of Rome under the same roof as more dangerous criminals lead by the 'Zingaro' (Luca Marinelli) from which he occasionally accepts dirty, little jobs. On one of these, whilst escaping from the police, he accidentally trips into a tank of radioactive material and ends up gaining super powers. As a threat rises in the city Enzo has to decide where his morals lie.

"They Call me Jeeg Robot" ("Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot" original title) comes in as one of the first major Italian production in the super hero genre. Whilst it can't be faulted for lack of diversity and originality, it doesn't manage to transcend genre clichés in a interesting way and because of an overall faulty execution it can be defined as a fine film on its own, yet nothing, unfortunately, remarkable in the genre.

The new ideas that spark from the film are many, not all of them work and some are actually the reason the film isn't amazing, but the writers have to be commended for some tropes they manage to subvert and some beautiful touches they manage to add. Ilenia Pastorelli plays Enzo's slightly off balance neighbor and whilst the performances jumps up and down from highs to lows, the character always has something deeply touching about her. I want to avoid spoilers of any sort here, but to sum it up her dynamic was clearly thought out and executed with a pleasant delicacy that was required and hard to hit.

Claudio Santamaria is actually an excellent protagonist and one of few words, which Santamaria pulls off greatly. Of all the characters in the film, his was the only one that never lost audience attachment and always gave a clear vision of his motivations and his development. His arch might not be as original as people think, actually quite the contrary, but he is brought to life with an affection and an attention to detail that makes him a character worth following.

From a directorial point of view there are many things that could be said both in positive and negative side. What is interesting is to see a first time feature director bring to life such a particular vision. I don't use particular randomly because there are many tonal flaws and ideas that don't work, but there is a very solid voice in the directing and Mainetti pulls his vision off, making his world live and breathe an unusual diversity and an atmosphere that is dark and twisted in its very own way.

Where the film looses steam is in some of the performances, coming admittedly from undeveloped or cartoonish characters, from plot turns that result deeply clichéd and deprive the film of a depth it was hinting, but most of all the tonal shifts are all over the place and make for a disjointed experience where you loose track of where the moral balance lies. From darkly comic interventions, to full on dramatic character explosions, to comedic light moments that don't really belong where they are, these continuous shifts make the film really choppy and undermine its world building which is another element it really lacks. We don't understand where in the world the story takes place fictionally, we don't understand the rules of this land, the social climate is never clear for the audience and since it seems that the film is actually making quite an effort to make you understand it, since it plays an important role in the storytelling, the fact that I didn't grasp it was all the more underwhelming.

On an action and technical level the film does have merits for managing to cope with such a small budget and making out of it something that is fully deserving of theatrical release. It shows that this is Mainetti's first feature and many edges have to be rounded off in the action department: the hits are never shown on camera. On the other hand, the director uses the hand-held shot in a particularly pleasing way, making the shots breathe and giving each of them multiple beats which is always nice to see.

Whilst this movie will not be remembered in the hall of great super hero films from this era it is good to see different personalities jump into the genre and give their own wild take on it even if not succeeding in a masterful execution.

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4 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Badly written and acted Kick-Ass/Hancock clone with no special effects.

Author: cablooie from United Kingdom
10 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Plain awful. Do anything else, throw marshmallows at stray dogs, pinch wallets, try to pee in a beer can, sell your body in parts. Anything is better than watching a badly acted and awfully written Kick-Ass/Hancock clone. Terrible B movie. At least Kick-Ass was funny and ironic, Hancock had great special effects, this dough is even trying to be dramatic. The only character building up throughout the movie is the loony girl, and she gets killed for no reason whatsoever. Her acting is dreadful (apparently she comes from a TV reality show), but her character is the only element of interest in the movie. Santamaria is just as wooden as Pinocchio. After she dies anybody else might as well turn into flaming zombies and bite everyone, you wouldn't give a rat's behind, anyway. The wooden puppet playing the bad guy should have been court martialed for his insanely bad acting. Steer clear, it is awful.

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