Tony, a mob loan collector, is dissatisfied with his station in life. Though he dreams of one day being rich, he is stuck with the dead-end job of beating up borrowers who fall behind in their payments. After meeting up with Napoli, another mob enforcer who's just been fired from his job, the two hatch a plan. Together, they will con mob boss Manzari out of a fortune, after which they can retire and live in luxury. Manzari, however, is not about to let them go so easily.Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
I had first watched this on the big screen as part of the Italian B-movie retrospective held during the 2004 Venice Film Festival (where 6 features by Di Leo were shown); back then, I didn't like it - rating it ** and feeling that it was rather unbalanced by the vulgar comedy relief (though typical of Italian films during this era), especially when compared to the director's other relatively more sober stuff (which had proved my first encounter with his work)!
Watching it again as part of a mini-tribute to its star, Jack Palance (who passed away recently), I found myself a lot more receptive to it; Di Leo dabbled most often in the crime genre and, as can be deduced from the title, this one falls into that category: the plot, dealing with a gang war (one faction controlled by Palance and the other by Edmund Purdom), is no great shakes but, at its centre is a revenge plan involving Palance and young misfit Al Cliver (whose identity is unknown to the 'boss'); this element gives it an undeniable edge, and the exciting climax takes place at a massive abandoned slaughterhouse - where an old betrayal and murder had taken place.
As is typical of the director, the action is pretty constant and always dynamic - aided by a fine eclectic score by Luis Enrique Bacalov; there's a discreet amount of nudity and, as I said, a slight overdose of comedy: however, as I watched more films by Di Leo (totaling nine so far), I realized that this was basically an idiosyncrasy of his (evident even in a straight melodrama such as LA SEDUZIONE ) but, in any case, I generally appreciated its style of humor now - especially when delivered by Di Leo regular Vittorio Caprioli (my favorite bit occurs towards the end, when he shoots the bad guys at close range with a bunch of guns he purchased for an eventual showdown but, constantly missing the mark, reasons to himself that the weapons must be defective and, therefore, he ought to return them and file a complaint to boot!).
Palance is suitably sinister and imposing - even if he probably spends more time being had, so to speak, than dishing it out! In the end, what's missing from the film vis-a'-vis Di Leo's other genre work is a strong hero (i.e. a credible opponent to Palance) in the vein of Gastone Moschin (from THE CONTRACT ), Mario Adorf (from THE Italian CONNECTION ) and Henry Silva (from WIPEOUT! )...
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