AKA-LA CITTA GIOCA D’AZZARDO, THE CHEATERS
REVIEWED BY-STEVE GENIER DIRECTED BY-SERGIO MARTINO CAST- LUC MERENDA, DAYLE HADDON, CORRADO PANI, ENRICO MARIA SALERNO, LINO TROISI, GIOVANNI JAVARONE and SALVATORE PUNTILLO. SOURCE-NO SHAME DVD (NTSC REGION 0/2005)
Slick card shark Luca Altieri (Luc Merenda) makes his way into the gambling world and empire of The President (Enrico Maria Salerno) . There Luca becomes The President’s number one source of revenue with his lightening fast card cheating skills. While climbing his way up the money charts, Luca then meets Maria Luisa (Dayle Haddon) who just happens to be The President’s son’s Corrado’s (Corrado Pani) main squeeze. After finding out about Maria Luisa’s affair with Luca, Corrado decides to make life hard for both of them. Setting up a private card game between Luca and himself, Corrado decides that Luca isn’t going to make the game. Before the game, Corrado with his goons beat up Luca and pretty much making sure his hands will never shuffle another deck of cards.
Though, as the game starts Luca even though beaten to a pulp shows up tot he surprise of Corrado. The President learns of Corrado’s corrupt actions towards Luca and decides to show up just in time to witness his son losing to Luca. He banishes both men as a results of these actions. After being disowned and embarrassed by his own father, Corrado decides to take revenge with killing his father and taking over the business. Of course not before The President visits Maria Luisa, paying her off and telling her that both her and Luca take off, leave the country and never for Luca to gamble again or else they will both be killed. With his father out of the way, Corrado hunts them both down in France where there’s a last chance for Luca to make big money. Though the big game is set up by Corrado himself.
Another great outing from both Luc Merenda and Sergio Martino, though unlike their first film together, THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS. Yes, they both deal with the element of crime, GAMBLING CITY is geared more towards the dark world of gambling. Still, it is much more lighter then THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS as it incorporates more drama then suspense. Martino masterfully weaves his usual slick direction into a solid storyline that seems very volatile and yet busting into areas of great action. Especially the well executed chase scene near the end of the film, a motorcycle and a car. The car where Corrado and his thugs in hot pursued of Luca and a pregnant Maria Luisa on a motorcycle. The scene runs for a nice amount of time and is high entertaining, watching the superbly positioned camera work angles via Giancarlo Ferrando’s daring stunt work a top another motorcycle. Classy and very dangerous, still this sequence is pretty much one of the best highlights of the film. Surrounded by a great cast and crew, Martino pumps out some of his best work in GAMBLING CITY.
One can’t help but be caught stunned by the beauty of Dayle Haddon, the Canadian born actress who has done her share of adult cinema and then some. Films like Charles Matton’s 1976 adult/horror SPERMULA with Udo Keir. In fact she is probably best known for being Spermula herself. Still, in GAMBLING CITY, Martino is able to capture a very innocent beauty from Haddon, one that really illuminates throughout the entire film. From what I gather, she and Merenda had just met just before filming their love scenes together and let me tell those scenes look pretty darn hot and realistic indeed. Their on screen pairing works incredibly well and really help the flow of the storyline and atmosphere of the film itself.
Luc Merenda once again showcases a great performance, something Martino had seen with his earlier film THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS. Though Martino had originally wanted to cast Fabio Testi, Merenda was the better choice in my opinion. Still, I could see Tomas Milian working well in this film given the film’s nature. Like his roll in THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS, Merenda assumes a character of great resources climbing to the top from the bottom of the heap. A character that seems to fit Merenda well, of course that coming from several of his other films. His is able to hold a scene with both skill and suave.
No Shame has brought us yet another rare Martino gem and boosted into near digital perfection. Like their past release of THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS.WARDH and THE CASE OF THE SCORPION’S TAIL, they have taken great care in updating this crime drama from director Sergio Martino. Decked out it a superbly cleaned wide-screen print that is scooped in at 2.35:1/16:9. This is accompanied by several audio choices, those being Italian digital mono with English subtitles, English digital mono or listening to Luc Merenda’s audio commentary while watching the film. His commentary is quite interesting indeed, as he reflects on the film, even slow to the punch in remembering certain aspects to it. Also, you are treated to a 35 minutes featurette called CHATTING WITH CHEATERS, where there are interviews with Sergio Martino, Luc Merenda and Giancarlo Ferrando. The disc’s extras ends with the original Italian trailer that also includes an optional English track with it. There is of course the choice to watch the Italian track with English subtitles with is as well, you’re call. Once again I must say No Shame has quickly become one the top outfits pumping out this Italian rarities.
STORY/FILM- 3.5 BITCH SLAPS PICTURE-4.5 BITCH SLAPS AUDIO-3 BITCH SLAPS EXTRAS- 3.5 BITCH SLAPS OVERALL DVD-3.5 BITCH SLAPS
To purchase this DVD, visit X-Ploited Cinema
Discuss this in our forums.