4 user 5 critic

First Action Hero (1994)

Il burattinaio (original title)
A maverick cop takes on the seedy criminal underbelly of Miami singlehanded.


Ninì Grassia


Ninì Grassia (screenplay), Ninì Grassia (story)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Fabio Testi ... Mark Fierro
Marina Giulia Cavalli Marina Giulia Cavalli ... Lori Fannon
Gabriele Ferzetti ... Ben Costa
Orso Maria Guerrini ... Tony Romeo
Ron Nummi Ron Nummi ... Hoagy O'Toole
Maria Grazia Nazzari Maria Grazia Nazzari ... Katherine Rourke
Antonio Zequila Antonio Zequila ... Brett
Alessandra Bellini Alessandra Bellini ... Paloma Fierro
Lino Patruno Lino Patruno ... Peter Castillo
Melchiorre Gerbino Melchiorre Gerbino ... Sam Chen (as Mel Gerbino)
Francesco Gabriele ... John McCullum
Deborah Torchio Deborah Torchio ... Santa Costa (as Deborah Di Maggio)
Tania De Nicola Tania De Nicola ... Sol
Domenico Postiglione Domenico Postiglione ... Hiro Isami
Gaetano Capozzoli Gaetano Capozzoli ... Freddy Tylford


An unconventional, off-the-rails cop - the First Action Hero of the title - is transferred back to his old precinct, Miami, to prevent a gang war. He is forced to juggle his cop duties with the pressures of dealing with his troubled family life and a straight-laced DA. Written by RC Pinchey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


First there was the last, now there is the... FIRST ACTION HERO


Did You Know?


Fierro: If you ever want to sue me or take me on, call me.
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Referenced in Best of the Worst: Our DVD and Blu-ray Collection (2019) See more »

User Reviews

One last blast from Fabio Testi!
23 October 2012 | by BezenbySee all my reviews

This film is far more entertaining than I expected from a poverty-row Italian studio. You know how the late eighties/early nineties weren't the best time for Italian exploitation cinema, right? Well, First Action Hero manages to be action packed and never boring for a minute, and I'm not being sarcastic either!

Fabio Testi is Mark Ferrio, an exiled cop returning to Miami to investigate the killings of various crime bosses. To complicate things his father in law is a mob lord, his lover is a lawyer to another mob boss, and his daughter is right in the firing line. Ferrio is a shoot everything first, then never ask questions kind of cop and blasts his way through the streets of Miami trying to find out who is behind the killings. Not an easy job as some unknown crime boss is wiping out the competition (and, to keep things tidy, all the hit men he uses too).

Sure, it has all the trapping of the Miami based films of the time, but c'mon - it's Fabio Testi! He even gets to do his crying jag that he does in most films. Massimo Vanni even turns up briefly, and you know what happens when Massimo squares up to Fabio Testi (or Franco Nero)? I'll say one thing - he makes a great corpse.

I was all ready to give this film a seven or an eight but then came along the last twenty minutes, when the mobsters kidnap Ferrio's daughter and Testi turns Rambo is a cross warehouse/quarry mega massacre involving scores and scores of henchmen. Testi blasts away with his giant gun, blows up a car using a JCB (then stands shooting a guy for having the gall to still be alive, although the guy was on fire), uses a forklift to blow something else up, grabs loads of dynamite and blows loads of other stuff up, and still leaves time for a slow-motion middle age man mud fight! Cue slow motion tearful reunion and Testi wheeling his crippled partner (shot at a roller disco!) and you've got a classic right here.

Sure, it's low budget, and the bad guy's plan didn't make much sense, but when you've got a dockside gun battle, men in masks bursting in with machine guns at funerals, restaurants, and even a guy having surgery, and you've got a film that can stand way above anything you'd expect from this era in Italian film. Brilliant!

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Release Date:

12 August 1994 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

First Action Hero See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

PAG See more »
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