Three Italian-American brothers, living in the slums of 1940's New York City, try to help each other with one's wrestling career using one brother's promotional skills and another brother's con-artist tactics to thwart a sleazy manager.
It's 1946 in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. Cosmo Carboni, the eldest of the three Carboni brothers, is lamenting what he sees as them not living up to their potential. Big talking Cosmo hustles and panhandles for money. Brooding Lenny Carboni, an injured veteran whose sullen attitude stems from his time in the war, is an undertaker. And youngest Victor Carboni, the simple muscle-man who wouldn't hurt a fly unless he's annoyed, is an iceman. Victor looks to Lenny and his Chinese-American girlfriend Susan Chow as his voices of reason. After Victor holds his own against wrestler Frankie the Thumper in an arm wrestling match, Frankie who is seen as the strongest man in the neighborhood, and after seeing the lucrative wrestling matches - which are more like street fights without rules - at the underground nightclub called Paradise Alley, Cosmo gets it into his head that wrestling may be Victor's calling and a way for them all to get out of Hell's Kitchen for good. The brothers would act...Written by
I bought this from HMV on Monday, because I wanted to check out this early Sly Stallone movie, and I've got to say that he made a sterling job of it, both behind and in front of the camera. The story (also by Stallone) borrows a little off ROCKY, but is nonetheless entertaining. Three brothers dream of escaping from the dreary Hell's Kitchen of the 1940s, so one of the guys, Cosmo (Stallone) persuades the youngest bro (Lee Canalito), a big, musclebound labourer, to take part in a wrestling competition in the hope that they will become rich. However, things are never as easy as they seem, as the brothers set out to discover. Critics have said in the past that Sly could never do comedy, but in PA, he has some funny one-liners and he displays wit, warmth and charisma as conman-with-a-heart Cosmo. Note the dramatic change in his character as the movie progresses. The supporting cast is strong, including Armand Assante as the oldest brother who too undergoes a change in character and Frank McRae as an over-the-hill wrestler. There is one nice directorial touch during the film where Cosmo looks through the window of a girl he's been chasing and sees his brother's walking stick next to her bare feet. The wrestling sequences are well handled, as well, with plenty of blood and pounding flesh. I reckon this movie influenced countless 80s B-movie fare such as A.W.O.L. and THE CAGE, but this is the real deal, as it's better acted and pretty realistic. I'd say this was one of Sly's best, alongside FIRST BLOOD and NIGHTHAWKS.
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