Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Castellari Month comes to a close

I had a lot of fun this month skimming the Enzo G. Castellari catalog, and I feel like I learned quite a bit at least about his style and his passion for film making. I hope you loyal 3 or so readers enjoyed my reviews. Please feel free to comment anywhere, make some suggestions, tell me why I am wrong.

Castellari may not be the most original storyteller and director of all time, but like some of the great film makers, he has a passion for what he does that is evident in hearing him speak, and a reverence for all of the source material that he likes to pull from. An obviously well-read guy, he is proud of his work, and rightfully so.

Although I believe Mr. Castellari and I may differ on some philosophical things, namely the role of violence in culture, I respect him even more after seeing his wide variety of stories this month. He puts himself into his work, films that many may overlook as just popcorn movie time, and enjoys doing so... and it shows.

The films I watched were technically well done and a lot of fun for the most part. There's a ton more I would love to still see that I have not already. Some look great, some maybe not so great, but still fun regardless...

Day of the Cobra
Shark Hunter
Heroin Busters
Eagles Over London
The Big Racket

Yeah, there's a lot.

I've found in Castellari's work a heightened respect and admiration of Franco Nero as an actor as well. I was already a fan, but seeing what I have now and Nero's range... and hearing about his relationship with Castellari and how Castellari is so fond of him... it made me all the more interested in his work. I'll surely be checking out more of him as well.

So there you have it! I probably could have crammed a few more flicks in there, but all fantastic things must come to an end.

Check out all his credits on his IMDB page

And his official website


Original Title: Keoma
Year: 1976
Writer: Enzo G. Castellari (screenplay), Nico Ducci (screenplay), George Eastman (screenplay, story), Mino Roli (screenplay), Joshua Sinclair (dialogue (uncredited))
Genre: Western

imdb synopsis:
Half-breed Keoma returns to his border hometown after service in the Civil War and finds it under the control of Caldwell, an ex-Confederate raider, and his vicious gang of thugs. To make matters worse, Keoma's three half-brothers have joined forces with Caldwell, and make it painfully clear that his return is an unwelcome one. Determined to break Caldwell and his brothers' grip on the town, Keoma partners with his father's former ranch hand to exact violent revenge.

I've been reading varying opinions on Keoma today after viewing it myself. After recently hearing an interview with Enzo Castellari thanks to the fine folks of Pop Syndicate, Outside the Cinema, and The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema, I decided to save this one until last. The last viewed and the last reviewed film of my unofficial Castellari Month. Castellari said in his interview that this was his favorite genre to work in, that Franco Nero was his favorite actor to work with, and that Keoma was his favorite film to work on. Ever.

So how could I not save it until last?

Of all of Castellari's films that I have watched lately and ever, this one was the deepest and most challenging for me. On my initial viewing, I can understand why he chooses this one as his favorite. Coming at a time when Spaghetti Westerns were almost completely out the door, Castellari seems to pay homage to some of the great elements of the genre from the beautiful scenery and super wide aspect ratio, to the grit and grime and existential nature of the violence, to the (from what I have read) Peckinpah-inspired action sequences.

And here's my little admission/disclaimer:
I have yet to see a Peckinpah western.

I need to get busy, eh?

In a 2007 interview with Castellari, he described the challenges behind the film. When he was initially given the script, he hated it. Instead of proceeding and making what he felt would be a flop, or canning the project entirely, Castellari in a way took the film under his wing and reinvented it. He rewrote the script day by day as they were filming, pulling elements from here and from there. You can see elements of westerns that came before. And he described elements of stories he pulled from to recreate the story of Keoma, from the influence of Death in the Seventh Seal, to Mark Antony's funeral speech from Julius Cesar. Keoma is meant to be seen as a Christ like figure, trying to save this village despite at some point pretty much everyone disliking or just not caring about him.

Sometimes you can get that feeling that this film was being created as it was going as it seems dreamlike and free-flowing from time to time, but I am amazed that Castellari pulls what is in my opinion a successful and cohesive plot with depth out of the proverbial coals. He spoke of his relationship with Franco Nero and the great trust Nero had for him, as well as the trust his producer had in him, which was essential when flying by the seat of his pants like this.

When you hear him talk about this film like this, and how much of himself he put into it, you can understand why it is so dear to him. After hearing him speak about the film, and about his beliefs of the ever-presence of violence in society and how sometimes violence is a necessary thing, you can see that same theme recurring in much of his work.

Franco Nero is phenomenal as Keoma. He may not be the most convincing half-Native American of all time, being white with a somewhat-heavy Italian accent and all, but he plays this role with such an intensity and with an underlying despair that you can feel it yourself. Keoma wants to fight for life, and you can believe the character's sadness and frustration of the state of his home upon his return as Death has settled in. Nero looks animalistic in this film with his mane and unkempt facial hair; quite a departure from the usual mustached hero we usually see him as.

This is a role for Nero that carries the film, but that's not to say the supporting cast are not significant. Keoma's father William (William Berger) is understated and solid. Keoma comes back to him after many years, and the slow rebuilding of their relationship is handled well I though. There is a nice scene with the two of them talking on the porch of his old homem the camera rotating around them very slowly. At times they seem very far apart but they are ultimately brought close together once again.

Keoma's half brothers all do a decent job and look great in masks. The beautiful Olga Karlatos as the pregnant Lisa does a nice job also.

Woody Strode plays George, a freed slave, now alcoholic, that was with Keoma's family when Keoma was a kid. Woody plays the part very well and makes for a very endearing character. I felt for him as well - a connection from things as simple as his facial expressions. His relationship with Keoma, while unfortunately brief in the film, was interesting I thought as the two share a bond in that George played what seems to be a big role in Keoma's upbringing and their being two non-white individuals living in a dangerous time for non-whites (post-Civil War American West).

The story as I mentioned is dreamlike at times, with flashbacks woven into present time. We see Keoma watching himself as a child, getting chided by his half-brothers. We see an old woman following him around, representing Death in a sense, and I was never quite sure if she was really supposed to be there or not.

I have seen complaints that this is just rehash. I can agree with that in a sense, but it isn't a rip-off job to me, but instead perhaps a collage. I feel like it is done with a sense of style and with a reverence that make it stand on it's own. Knowing Castellari's history with the film and with the story's ultimate influences aids in my enjoyment of it I think.

Instead of being a simply cut-and-paste story set in the West, we get reflections on life and death, the circle of it all, and the role of violence in the whole scheme.

"The world keeps going around and around. So you always end up in the same place."

Castellari and director of photography Aiace Parolin paint a beautiful picture with Keoma. It looks fantastic and even hellish at times with certain shots of the run-down village. The scenery was beautiful and very spacious. I liked the use of slow-motion quite a bit (I'm still a sucker for it), and Castellari's experimental side shows nicely once again with some interesting angles and takes on what would be just typical events in a Western.

Look for Keoma and William's target practices, for shots through legs (a Castellari staple), and one marvelous shot with Keoma counting to four, lowering fingers one by one to reveal men standing there. Out-feggin-standing stuff.

One complaint I have about the film, and I share this sentiment with many people it seems, is the soundtrack. This is kind of a major complaint. Castellari wanted the soundtrack to be a take on the music of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan... a folky approach to quirky storytelling. And the stories told would be done so by those with no necessarily the best singing voices. Where I love Cohen and Dylan, the music here got in the way for me. The songs served as narration, for example telling Keoma to run away! Run far, far away! As far as you can! At times it worked when it was minimal.

The woman's voice in particular had a sometimes haunting-quality to it which worked with the feel of the film. But by the end of the movie it began to feel like parody. I was waiting for a song narration saying Keoma missed his mom, and now he was hungry, and now he needed to drop a deuce. It largely did not work for me, and I wish a different decision was made regarding this style of soundtrack.

Ultimately though, I really liked Keoma. Solid performances, a nice, serious tone, beautifully shot, and knowing the background and Castellari's affection for the story, it's process, and his strong relationship with Nero all added to it.

It's not a masterpiece, and I still think Castellari's first work with Nero in High Crime is superior, but Keoma is worth putting up against other strong spaghetti westerns regardless of the time it was made. I would score it higher if not for the music... it was that big a deal for me.

High recommendation.

7.75 out of 10

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Original Title: I Nuovi barbari
Year: 1983
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writer: Tito Carpi, Enzo G. Castellari, Antonio Visone
Genre: Post-Apocalypse

This may have been the very first Enzo Castellari film I ever watched. I didn't watch it because it was Castellari... I watched it because it is post-apocalyptic flick. It is a Mad Max rip-off. And it is so fun.

imdb synopsis: Two mercenaries help wandering caravans fight off an evil and aimless band of white-clad bikers after the nuclear holocuast.

Mad Max 2 anyone?

OK, actually I don’t have a lot to say about this one except that it ruled! The story here is pretty throwaway… it was most definitely a Road Warrior ripoff: the loner in the sweet muscle car protecting the helpless caravan from the evil mohawked do-badders. You kinda know what you are in for right off the bat with some of the best/worst miniature work ever put to film used to illustrate the nuclear strike that almost ends humanity.

OK, that looks a little better in a still than it does in motion, believe me.

There was evidently a clearance sale on stuntmen before filming started. There was quite a bit of dummy-flying here, but even in the first couple minutes we are treated to car chasing, motorcycle jumping, explosions… I was smiling a lot at the loads of action scenes.

Unless you are completely lacking in heart and soul, when you see a headless man riding a dirt bike with a smoky neck stump, how can you not at least grin? Oh, and did I mention his head was just blowed up by Fred Williamson's Dukes of Hazzard inspired exploding bow and arrow of doom?

The special effects and ridiculous costumes are worth seeing in this film as well because of how cheap they are honestly. For the right viewer, this will provide a fantastic viewing while watching the laser blasts, vacuum tubes taped to muscle cars and dune buggies, aluminum foil, shoulder pads... I was a big fan of the Templars white outfits. Most of them made me think of Spaceballs.

Our hero Scorpion, while understated in comparison to our more flamboyant villains, has some great elements of his own. His F-L-U-F-F-Y hairdo, spray painted skull hood ornament and especially his clear plastic armor near the end of the film are all things to behold!

Admittedly, I lost track of where the story was going in the middle. But I really don't think that is where most people will find their enjoyment in this film. I found myself not paying attention as Castellari was trying to cram some story in there before the final act was to begin.

If you want to follow a post-apocalyptic story a little better, seek out Mad Max. We all know why we're here.

Besides Fred Williamson being his normal self, no performances really stand out. Oh wait, one does. And he is more over the top than the Hammer wearing leather armor and sporting a bow and arrow. I'm talking about One.... Mr. George Eastman.

When he is not tearing hardback bibles n half with his bare hands or loving the hind quarters of his enemies, One likes to give long monologues about why the Templars need to kill everyone. It's ridiculous and glorious all at the same time.

Who would ever think Mr. Williamson would be outhammed?

Poke! Poke!

This one was pretty cheap… they shoehorned a story in there and called it a day, but so many things about this one had me smiling. More mindless than 2019 - After the Fall of New York, but I probably liked it better… maybe for that reason.

There are some nice Castellari moments in there, his fun use of slow-mo (with cars chasing people for instance) and some just interesting camera work. There's a great shot of Scorpion getting ready to fire through a peep hole.

Fun stuff.

Lots of explosions, corpses flailing about, decapitation, ridiculous cars, Fred Williamson’s stache…. even a side boob shot from the hot leading lady (who played a baddie in 2019 After the Fall of New York a year later… Anna Kanakis…hot!)

I know, a tit peek in a scene with a doctor examination should not be exciting, but come on! The boobs definitely should have been on display in the love scene inside the strange pool float tent, but I'll take what I can get in this case.

On an aside regarding this inflatable sex scene, when I watched this and even when I took the screen capture, I thought that was just an odd looking fake full moon peeking up behind the car. But I completely forgot that it's this odd plastic dome on the roof. It looks totally ridiculous and is never actually used from what I remember.

Anyway, boob(s)!

This is a must see if you like these types of films. Probably worth a purchase to watch with buddies, honestly. My score may seem a little low, but objectively speaking, this film is not great at all. Not even close. But anything that keeps me happy essentially from start to finish earns quite a few bonus points in my book.

6.75 out of 10

And because the fans demanded it...

(not really)

I am reworking my old review for New Barbarians!

I know, I know... get it all out now.

This trailer is way too long and shows about half the movie, but it's still full of awesome

Check out this (fan made?) trailer for the film. I got a good laugh with their choice of closing scene. RRRRIP!

Monday, September 28, 2009


I'm a big fan of shitty post-apocalyptic films. So I just had to try this one considering this festive month here on the grand ol' blog.

Original Title: 1990: I guerrieri del Bronx
Year: 1985
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writer: Elisa Briganti, Enzo G. Castellari, Dardano Sacchetti (screenplay, story)
Genre: Action, Post-Apocalypse

imdb synopsis:
In a post-apocalyptic New York City, a policeman infiltrates the Bronx, which has become a battleground for several murderous street gangs.

Here's your recipe for success:

Take two parts The Warriors, two parts Escape From New York, one part Mark Slaughter, one part Rob Halford, sprinkle in a bit more gay, shake until unrecognizable, and voilà!

You have 1990: Bronx Warriors!

While I may be biased, and while there are some nicely shot scenes and cool little additions, I thought this film was pretty fun for the most part. Despite it being a trainwreck that is.

A bit of trivia I learned while reading about Castellari's dip into the post-apoc pool is that the "star" Mark Gregory, aptly named Trash in the film, at the age of 17 was discovered at a gym after his girlfriend sent a photo of him in to a contest to pick the lead actor in this film. And it painfully shows that poor Mark had little to no acting skills. Not even in the action department was he convincing. And put him next to cigar and scene chewing Fred Williamson, and the flaws become ever more apparent. He just cannot keep up.

Oh, but was he pretty! Even I wanted to bang him a couple times there. I think it's the vest/no shirt look that really did it for me.

And those pouty lips

and curly locks.

And that pointy, studded stick...


Now let's get back to Mr. Williamson.

Oh, I haven't forgotten you, Hammer!

Oh, what's that?

There's someone else named Hammer here?

And you're being forced to dress like a gay pirate complete with golden belt buckle and tight leather pants?

How pissed are you as Fred Williamson in this film if not only this douchebag...

...has stolen your awesome name, but you are also relegated to being the king of a shithole and leader of a gang of tacky pimps who never left the 1970s, your name is inexplicably The Ogre despite your being attempted suave, and you have to try to keep that tough persona alive while sporting a wardrobe fit for Saturday Night Fever?

He tries his best to maintain the illusion with his trademark cigar, camera mugging, and a stache that is simply out of fucking control, but silk (shiny polyester?) just isn't the best look for this man, let me say.

The other actors here are pretty much "Trash" as well. Haha, see what I did there?

Vic Morrow as Hammer is an enigma for me. In plain clothes, he is over the top, yes, but bearable. He yells, kills shit, and also has a terrific mustache! But mysteriously this mean dude in the fake Member's Only jacket disappears... it all falls apart when he dons his Fascist uniform and turns into an evil-laughing, pointing, hyper-overacting idiot. It was embarrassing, really, but just between you and me, I smiled a little. Shhhh.

Trash's gang, and really most everyone else in the film simply suck. Enzo makes a few appearances himself as the vice-president and is stiff as a board. There's his asshole second-in-command Ice (who wears a terrific John Denver costume), the forgettable everyone else in the gang, Trash's lady friend who I could care less about even though she was the keystone of the entire story.... and then this guy who was particularly annoying, Blade, played by Massimo Vanni who talks through his smiley teeth the entire time.

His delivery is painful!

But what a fabulous headband!

The story is simple enough despite not making a lot of sense. Trash's aforementioned lady companion Ann (Stefania Girolami Goodwin) is the heiress to a giant arms manufacturing corporation, and she is now set to become the owner. She does not want any part of this evil corporation, so she runs away to the Bronx from Manhattan because getting raped and murdered by men in facepaint and roller skates or tap shoes will really show those business types what's what. So she sets our story in motion as Trash becomes her protector and the president and vice president send in Hammer the super cop to retrieve her. Many of the actions of the characters I felt really were empty and pointless, but in an early-80s Italian post-apocalypse film, this really isn't something you need to get hung up on.

While we're on the subject of post-apocalypse films, I am really not sure if this is even considered one. Sure, the area we see most of the story in is dystopian and in shambles, but we can see the fucking Twin Towers in the background and there was even one point where you saw Manhattan traffic just zooming along on the other side of the river behind Trash in one scene. Plus, 1990 wasn't very far in the future for the Bronx to have completely crumbled. been abandoned by society and walled off.

Wait, you couldn't see the World Trade Center from the Bronx could you?? What the fuck?

And what the hell happened to the New York Yankees in this future?

Go Sox!

Despite all of this Trash (man, does the guy ever stop?? LOL!) there are some nicely shot sequences in here as we often see with Castellari films. He was able to keep this American-set film feeling European which I can appreciate, and we see some of his trademarks shining through. The slow motion on the fighting sequences, while showing flaws in their technique (missing a punch is a flaw, yes?) added a nice sense of style at least.

There were cool weapons all around which are always a nice post-apoc staple I think; boot knife, the studded spikes of the Riders, whip, claws, cane sword, the combination knife/brass knuckles. Trash sports a particularly brutal elbow spike which he seems to use quite often. Too bad it never appears to be bloody, however. Gotta save money somewhere I suppose...

One of my favorite parts of the film actually was the opening credits, where there is a sweet song playing and we are shown closeups of these weapons briefly moving then pausing as credits flash by.

Poor Fred gets stuck again with a shit image; this time beside his credit.

Come on! at least give him a metal hockey stick!

And other scenes are shot (and scored) nicely, like the climactic battle despite some apparent reuse of shots, or like the funeral scene in the middle of the film followed by the procession as the Riders move to spread the ashes of their fallen members.

I liked the montage of all the individuals standing around the pyre, then dusk falling as the group rides down an empty New York street with their illuminated skulls on their handlebars. It's a little much, I suppose, but I thought it was a cool part.

I don't mean to come down entirely on this film. It's rather unoriginal, poorly acted, and kind of a mess overall. But it looks nice, has a few moments, and there is just something about these types of films are endearing to me.

It's worth a watch if you are into the genre or want to continue to play along in Castellari month, but there are much better post-apocalypse biker weapon fighting flicks out there... some even with LAZERS! I mean, look no farther than his 1982 flick The New Barbarians for evidence of that!

5 out of 10

In the comments, Matt noted my omission of the crazy drummer guy. TOTAL oversight on my part. When the Riders go to meet Ogre and his gang for the first time in a huge, dusty lot, there is a random (very random) guy on a simple drum set - snare, kicker, single cymbal - just playing the same little beat over and over again.

His "drum solo" is actually the repeating music for the DVD menu!

I did some reading about him after seeing him, and evidently he was some dude hanging out at the shooting site that day and he just kept playing. Castellari and crew worked around him. Honestly, he kind of blended in for me. After seeing a rollerskating hockey-themed gang, just a guy in street clothes playing drums didn't stick out all that much.

I'm so glad I read about him now, though. He will forever be a legend to me. Mark Gregory may have disappeared after 1989, but I wanna know where random drummer guy is now...

I was lazy in my determining my readers. Mattsuzaka (of chucknorrisatemybaby fame....check it out now!) pointed out that I had indeed confused my Matts.

Sorry for the confusion

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Coming soon to assorted loaf...

...oh yes

Friday, September 25, 2009


Original Title: Colpi di luce
Year: 1985
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writer: Enzo G. Castellari, Tito Carpi

imdb synopsis:
A crazed physician invents a death ray and threatens to destroy San Francisco unless he is paid $10 million.

Physician? I would say he is more a physicist, but we can't all be perfect, right?

And here we are back with another 80s Castellari film, this time starring fan favorite Erik Estrada as Detective Ronn Warren!

Funny little aside: my brother, Eric, almost had his named spelled Erik on his birth certificate after Erik Estrada, and would have if the choice was ultimately up to my dad. Mom put her foot down, however, and went with the more conventional C spelling.

Anyway, while this film is more simple and straightforward, not all that original, and equally poorly acted as Hammerhead, I really had a more enjoyable experience with it. Where Hammerhead began to get lost in it's own story by the end, this one is easy, light, and will provide some laughs.

We get some Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema ( staples all throughout this film. The story revolves around a giant LAZER; always a good thing. There are carsplosions thrown in there. Almost every bad guy sports an impressive stache. There is even a tough tits appearance (Estrada just had to don that speedo! Oh, and he is carrying a turkey in the screeshot there.)

Unfortunately there are no Members Only jackets, but there's plenty of other great 80s fashions to make up for it. Casio watches have never looked better! Man that little jogging man is HOT!

There are other little things that just really made this a fun film to watch. People have never been more flammable for one. If any person in this film is near fire at all, they will also burst into flames. Then in true Castellari fashion, they will flail around a bit in slow motion! There's explosions, melting faces (think Raiders of the Lost Ark on a 3 dollar budget), gun play, car chases, Estrada flying in a dune buggy...

This movie has it all, right??

Well, not so fast.

The story here is nothing to write home about. While some elements are interesting, such as the laser weapon itself, the overall story while easy to follow is just cut and paste detective chasing the bad guy. If not for all the fun stuff I listed already, this could have been a disaster. This is a writing team up once again of Castellari and Carpi, which I have seen often in Castellari's films.

There was no standout aside from Estrada in the acting department, and if you've seen Estrada play a cop in anything else, you know pretty much what to expect from Detective Ronn Warren.... meh, right? It was kinda cool seeing him punch a woman square in the face, however. Not that I condone that! But it's trashy movie world! Oh, and she had it coming! Everyone was pretty forgettable or just bad I thought.

The physicist (played by Ennio Girolami I believe?) could be particularly bad when he goes on his mad scientist rant.

Another thing this film was lacking was Castellari's and his director of photography's trademark flourishes and sense of playfulness. There was a little in there you'll notice with some repeated actions or slow motion, but as I said, this was much more straightforward - moreso than anything else, outside of maybe his early westerns, that I have seen. The direction is fine here, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't noticing anything all that special. I get spoiled by the European genre style. As with Hammerhead which came a little later, and putting aside the fact that it takes place in San Francisco, this film felt much more American than most of the Castellari films I have seen.

If you can track this down, this is definitely worth a watch. It's a fast hour and a half that is cliche but a lot of ridiculous fun. Have fun with this one... and stay away from open flames!

6 out of 10

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Battlefield Stadium

Oh man, I love baseball like I love wrestling.

This looks ridiculous and stupid...

...and I want to see it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Original Title: Il cittadino si ribella
Year: 1974
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writer: Massimo De Rita (story), Arduino Maiuri (screenplay)
imdb synopsis:
Carlo Antonelli, an engineer from Genoa, gets mugged and decides to take justice into his own hands. At first the muggers seem to get the upper hand, but then he's helped by Tommy, a young robber who takes his side.

I went into Street Law not knowing what to expect. It started off with a bang, then moved to a slow simmer for the rest of the first half. But it certainly picked up in the second half and actually kind of turned into something I was not quite expecting.

The opening sequence in the film is just simply awesome. I tihnk it may be one of my favorite genre film openings I have seen since I started writing these reviews. It starts off showing
some men break into and vandalize an apartment while the music builds.
We then see a smashed
document on the floor that is translated "ITALIANS REBEL!" as the music then really kicks in,
and we see a series of rather violent crimes being committed around Genoa, from a mugging and stealing to outright assassinations and kidnapping. The music is loud and in your face, as is the filming. There are pauses in the action as the credits roll, only to come out to guns blasting and blood flying. It is at the same time stylish and jarring.

Franco Nero appears here in a role unlike I've seen him in before. I am used to seeing the blonde haired/blue eyed heroes in these Italian films as a detective or some other strong individual, but Nero plays the humiliated, frustrated, and sometimes helpless Carlo, a man kidnapped, beaten, and unsatisfied by the help he receives. I mentioned before that the movie changes into something I was not expecting. By that I mean Carlo does not turn into a super vigilante, killing criminals with skill and ease like the Punisher. He instead makes mistakes, some worse than others, and grows more frustrated as the audience grows more tense. After a large mistake, as we really get into the second half as I mentioned, the action picks up.

Nero is fantastic as usual, and I think he may have dubbed his own lines. It is all in English, and his character stands out as having a noticeable Italian accent that I thought sounded pretty cool (despite the film actually taking place in Italy where they would probably not be speaking English.)

The other characters are fine if not forgettable, but poor Giancarlo Prete playing Tommy just did not stand a chance. He did not seem like the strongest actor ever, but put in serious scenes with Nero killing it right next to him made little flaws stand out even more. This is very much Nero's film to carry, though, so it's all OK.

What this film does is not give us a guns-blazing, cars-crashing, fists-flying romp, but rather a nicely built story of a man who has reached his limit and learns from his mistakes as he takes matters into his own hands. He becomes a man obsessed almost, and his enthusiasm gets him into trouble in an underworld he obviously knows little about. I thought it was an interesting twist on the style of film.

I've mentioned the music, which added a lot to the film. Castellari's style can be seen quite
a bit as well with his slow motion, filling the frame, etc. All the little tricks show up at one time or
another (there's a great scene with Carlo being chased in a dirty lot by a man driving a Mustang that uses slow motion quite well), but the difference here is that it is much more subtle than in other Italian action films I have seen.

I think this works in Castellari's favor. We focus on Carlo's mission and the story instead of the flashy style of a someone like a handsome detective who would do this sort of work for a living. It is a more simple and serious approach to filming a story of a man learning the ropes so to speak. (We do lose the seriousness for a brief time with Carlo's sawed-off shotgun which behaves more like a cannon than a hand held firearm!)

It is still very well shot and paced, but is not as fast and in-your-face as similar films may be.

As much as I enjoyed Nero's performance and the film as a whole, I could not help but think about the moral/social implications put out there by Street Law. This story could be seen as incendiary. It was released at a time, at least in the United States, when crime was a serious problem. Showing police figures act roughly with criminals like a Dirty Harry is one thing, but having a citizen act out and take the law into his own hands is entirely another thing. I realize that films like these are made for entertainment, but when we are given a theme like this, and messages like ITALIANS REBEL, it really feels like it is toeing the line of being responsible versus simply just a film.

That sort of message could border on propaganda to some audiences.

Seeing this now, I can make the distinction. I was not alive when films like Death Wish and other vigilante copy-cats were current, so for that time, I'm not so sure.

Regardless, this film is well done and fun while still being tense and serious. This gets a high recommendation from me.

7.5 out of 10