Two small-time hoodlums plot to get even with a treacherous boss who is intent on monopolizing all criminal activity within Rome.Two small-time hoodlums plot to get even with a treacherous boss who is intent on monopolizing all criminal activity within Rome.Two small-time hoodlums plot to get even with a treacherous boss who is intent on monopolizing all criminal activity within Rome.
The locations are splendid, and the gritty roughness of the photography and clever (without being too much or too dizzying) camera angles capture it more than ideally. There is also a dynamite score, exhilarating action scenes (the final shootout being the prime example) and mostly above-decent direction, if in need of more tension in places. The script is tight and more light-hearted than Di Leo's Milieu trilogy, but it was light-heartedness and witty humour that didn't feel too misplaced, and the story is at least engrossing and swiftly paced on the most part.
Casting-wise, Rulers of the City is very much a mixed bag, with the best performances being from a sinister Jack Palance (though he was deserving of more screen time) and a lively and lots-of-fun, without being too clownish, Vittorio Napoli as the film's most colourful character. Harry Baer has some charming moments too and Giselda Hahn brings a little heart. Al Clivar however does show his limitations as an actor in a somewhat one-note performance and Edmund Perdum is rather stiff in an underwritten role.
Aside from a slow-motion dream-like opening sequence, that was quite striking if perhaps not necessary, Rulers of the City does take too long to get going and the story only really comes to life once Palance appears. The film was in need of more tension and suspense, and stronger writing for the villains (who were underutilised and never really developed, and this is including Palance's character) would have helped. The final shoot-out is great, but ends a little anti-climactically. And I do have to agree about the homo-erotic undertones and homosexuality hints being clumsily written and out of place, which did feel the film a bizarre feel at times.
Overall, respectable but could have been better. 6/10 Bethany Cox
- Jul 6, 2015