When a shipment of heroin disappears between Italy and New York, a small-time pimp in Milan is framed for the theft. Two professional hitmen are dispatched from New York to find him, but the real thieves want to get rid of him before the New York killers get to him to eliminate any chance of them finding out he's the wrong man. When the pimp's wife and daughter are murdered in the course of the "manhunt", he swears revenge on everyone who had anything to do with it.Written by
In the English version, Irish actor Cyril Cusack plays the American drug trafficker named Corso by using his native Irish accent throughout the whole film. See more »
Don Vito Tressoldi:
[to Luca, after being held at gunpoint]
You little runt. You're talking to Don Vito Tressoldi, and DON'T YOU FORGET IT! That name means something. What's yours mean? NOTHING! Not even that stupid whore you're married!
[sighs in disbelief]
My wife wasn't a whore...
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Two vicious hit men (Henry Silva and Woody Strode) are sent by the New York mob to Milan, Italy to "make an example" of a small-time pimp (Mario Adolph) who is believed to be responsible for a missing shipment of heroin. The two hit-man have the support of the local Milan mafia don (Adolf Celli), who may know more than he's telling about the missing heroin, but their target turns out to be much more wily and dangerous than they could have possibly anticipated.
Although this Ferdinand de Leo crime thriller is regarded as a minor masterpiece of the genre, it has only been released in America so far on a crappy VHS tape which really hampers the enjoyment. It's full-frame, horribly cropped with the kind of muddy, off-color transfer that gives third generation bootlegs a not-so-bad name. The dubbing could charitably be described as indifferent--it's like they pulled random English speakers off the street and had them read from cue cards. The women in these movies are typically just sex objects, but still you would think that an actress of Femi Benussi's stature in Italian exploitation films (maybe a rung below Edwige Fenech and Barbara Bouchet) would at least get CREDIT for the important role of the protagonist's ill-fated, former prostitute girlfriend. (And her patented long, butt-naked nude scene would probably be a little more enjoyable if the ample skin she shows wasn't bluish-gray due to the lousy transfer). Perhaps most ridiculous though, the whole thing is presented as a "blaxploitation" film due to the presence of African-American actor Woody Strode (who's obviously dubbed by a white guy) even though the real protagonist here is a white Italian.
The action scenes are very effective though despite the transfer. It's also a pretty good basic story. I like these movies where there's a criminal anti-hero taking on the mob rather than the usual vigilante cop. The Italian crime thrillers certainly have their share of vigilante cops (the genre was largely inspired by "Dirty Harry" and "The French Connection"), but even these films at least acknowledge that that there's moral ambiguity in the world and that violence isn't always a clean solution for every problem. Overall, I would recommend this, but if you're going to get it at all, it probably would be worth seeking out a widescreen Italian version with English subtitles. Avoid the laughable "Black Kingpin" version.
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