AKA: LA MALA ORDINA/HIRED TO KILL/MANHUNT IN MILAN/HITMEN
REVIEWED BY-STEVE GENIER DIRECTED BY-FERNANDO DI LEO CAST-MARIO ADORF, HENRY SILVA, WOODY STRODE, ADOLFO CELI, LUCIANA PALUZZI, FRANCO FABRIZI, FEMI BENUSSI and GIANNI MACCHIA. SOURCE-RARO VIDEO DVD/PAL R0 (2004)
New York based hit men Dave (Henry Silva) and Frank (Woody Strode) are hired to find and kill low life pimp, Luca (Mario Adorf) in Milan. First they must meet up with a local mafia family headed by Don Vito (Adolfo Celi) to find him. At first no real explanation is given as to why they are after, and if youíre a hit man itís not really a priority either. AS the search begins, there are two separate attempts to find Luca, that of Frank and Dave the other through Don Vitoís men. After a series of failed attempts to bring Luca in, in order to save grace and humiliation, Don Vito plays his trump card and threaten Luca that if he does come in, he will get Lucaís wife and daughter involved. Immediately Luca goes to his wife and warns her of this and orders her to get their daughter and live the city. Upon doing so, Lucaís wife and daughter are killed by a stray truck one of Don Vitoís men are driving. Now the game has changed as Luca naturally will go to any lengths to seek revenge and to find out why they are hunting him down.
This director Fernando di Leoís follow-up and some what sequel to MILAN CALIBER 9 houses quite the line up. With Henry Silva, Woody Strode and Adolfo Celi, one would expect to be fully entertained. Of course that is the case with MANHUNT, only itís not from those stars, it is in fact via the true one man show put on by actor Mario Adorf (Luca), that generated pretty much all the energy and entertainment. This certainly has to be the pinnacle of Adorfís career, even after his brilliant performances in other classic Italian genre films SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS and WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOUR DAUGHTERS among many others. He displays a force that is unstoppable, that being in both character and acting abilities. Known primarily as the hothead in most of his films, though that is a major part of his Luca character, itís also not the only aspect. One scene in particular we are of course given front row tickets for a car and foot chase that rivals the best of them.
During this scene Adorf is hanging from a truck door swinging in mid air and eventually climbing to the front of the van. All these stunts are performed or at least looks like they are performed by Adorf himself. They are certainly not an easy task to perform either. His grit and raw determination to find the root cause and the truth to way he is being hunted down is an incredible spectacle to witness. He generates some much power in this character as you the viewer really start to root this guy on. Of course at first he is just some low life that is being picked to be a fall guy, show they show him with all the negativities necessary until his wife and child are killed. Things swing in full favor of Luca after that. As for tough guys Henry Silva and Woody Strode, they are both used sparingly at most. Though they do have a few extended scenes including the major ending scenes, they really donít effect overall pace of the filmís story in any dramatic ways. You are not given enough time to really think about choosing them in this mafia war. They are just a couple of die hard killers and thatís the exact way di Leo wanted to showcase them. Though you are shown slight characteristics with the two of them. Henry Silvaís character of Dave is a talky womanizer where Woody Strode is the stone faced get to business Frank. Even though these two characters have their differences, the actors (Strode and Silva) are a perfect match to play them.
Fans of both the Italian crime film and that of the films of director Fernando di Leo will not be disappointed at all with MANHUNT. Di Leo pulls out all his usual stops here, employing tons of action, gunplay and of course storyline. Di Leo also gives us a backdrop slice of Italian pop culture of the time as well as we penetrate the nightclub crowds, group sex and the music of the day. All of which is heightened by Armando Trovajoliís score. At the center of all the action is like mentioned above is a power pumped car/foot chase sequence that is juiced with great stunts and action. Most of all, the element behind this , that being di Leoís great sense of direction and ability to helm a great story bringing it to life. This is when I must mention his direction of Mario Adorf, as it is a prime example of how a great director can bring the best out of his actors.
Once again Raro/Nocturno have brought us another classic di Leo crime film title and revamped it to itís fullest glory. In beautiful anamorphic wide screen picture, which is quite bright and full of color. Presented with either itís original Italian audio (Dolby Digital 2.0) with English subtitles or in an English dub, both sounding quite clean. As for the extras, itís best if you are able to understand Italian as the interview/documentary which include director Fernando di Leo are in Italian only. There are also biography and filmography of di Leo as well as a photo gallery. Still even with the extras mostly in Italian, this disc is well worth the purchase on many levels. For one, it may be a long time if ever that you will see this uncut (10 extras minutes added to this version) in a NTSC R1 release. Plus, just for Adorfís raw performance along should be enough to grab your attention.
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