Monday, August 4, 2014

Rulers of the City (1976)

Original title: I Padroni della Citta

Director: Fernando Di Leo

Wrtiers: Fernando Di Leo, Peter Berling

Composer: Luis Bacalov

Starring: Jack Palance, Al Cliver, Harry Baer, Gisela Hahn, Enzo Pulcrano, Roberto Reale, Edmund Purdom, Vittorio Caprioli, Rosario Borelli, Pietro Ceccarelli

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Revenge....Italian Style!

Plot: 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.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

Don't take this one seriously and you'll fare better for it. It's so light in tone and far-fetched that you can't look too much into it.  Jack Palance looks like a badass mob boss but he's about as effective as Jello with a cigar.  The people he has around him can't do squat and it's hard to believe that this punk ass kid Tony (Baer) can get away with the shit he pulls. He's a cocky sumbitch that Tony.  He's very physical and his fight scenes are pretty good.  From the first few seconds you can tell it's a 70s Italian picture.  I normally like Di Leo (MILANO CALIBRO 9 & THE ITALIAN CONNECTION (both 1972) are the shit) but this one feels lazy.  The pacing is OK but the picture plays out like it wants to be a lot of things (comedy, crime, action, thriller) without being confident enough to deliver them.  The B-story that ties into the beginning could have been better handled as well as Tony being less of a footloose and fancy free kind of guy. That would've helped but in the end, I did enjoy it enough not to regret buying the first volume of the Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection on Blu-ray.  The transfer looks great and it's got a twenty minute featurette with interviews of the cats that made it.  That was fun. I'm looking forward to getting through the rest of this set and the second set.  Like every genre, 70s Italian crime films have their ups and downs.  I would recommend starting with the two films I mentioned above because if you see this one first you're likely to thumb your nose at the rest before giving them a chance. 

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