( aka Mark Strikes Again )
Reviewed By-Paul Cooke (Feb 2005) Director : Stelvio Massi Producer : Lucio De Caro & Dardano Sacchetti Starring : Franco Gasparri , John Saxon , John Steiner , Marcella Michelangelo & Malisa Longo Source-Show Video Greece/PAL/Full Screen/Mono/English dubbed
‘‘Fanatics like them are a dime a dozen , if they didn’t exist we’d invent them’’
The lightening reflexes of star Franco Gasparri strikes up a very welcome third union with Director Stelvio Massi in the Mark series of movies. Here Gasparri however plays the role of Mark Patti rather than that of officer Terzi. He’s an undercover narcotics officer infiltrating the underworld of criminal activists in and around Milan. His grounding and street awareness place him in good stead when Interpol co-opt him to infiltrate a gang of terrorists , in order to uncover a Europe wide organisation in terrorism.
Opening like the preceding ‘Mark il Poliziotto Spara Per Primo’ , with a sniper making a kill from a nearby location , the Action and violence is apparent from inceptive credits on. The rifleman hits his intended police escort notary with unerring bloody accuracy , then having to scramble for his own life as a motorcycle cop chases and shoots him down. From the adjoining undergrowth steps John Steiner to assist his heavily wounded cohort , and the two race away to meet up with their femme fatale partner in crime Marcella Michelangeli. Steiner and Michelangeli are well cast as the films revolutionary protagonists , playing the roles of Paul Henkel and Olga Kube. They are heinously known as the Kube Henkel gang , modern day German variations on the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. They are forced to hold up in a small town hotel room , needful of seeking out a criminal contact to aid them in getting a no questions asked doctor for their henchman. Dressed down Mark Patti catches the eye of Olga Kube and he is soon drawn into her world of terrorism , as his department are enforced by Interpol to place him amidst the organisations ranks. Mark cannot just act as if he is a terrorist conscript , he has to eat , sleep and breath its very construct. His only link with his own people is through Interpol agent Altman , played by John Saxon , a man himself with unusual methods that leave a question mark over his reliability.
Things get serious for Patti when he is sent to Vienna in Austria to pull off an arranged assassination in order to prove himself. With Altman making an appearance Patti recognises that watching his back is laced with a large degree of insecurity. He becomes aware that Altman is no better than the terrorists he is hunting down , as the degrees of protection fall foul of a system he openly acknowledges works in his favour , particularly when it comes to many political figures he feels deserve to be dispensed of !.
With such an interesting array of European based talent on display the film benefits greatly , along with a very well rendered musical score from Stelvio Cipriani. One of the most enhancing effects to a solid movie is the great use of musical composition and here it works superbly well , crafted into proceedings deftly and dynamically. Once again Director Stelvio Massi displays his workman like effort up on the screen for all to see and appreciate. His professionalism with the Action stunt scenes are so realistic it is hard to believe that he has employed stunt people at all. The close up sequences are believable in that the actors are there to behold , and the hard hitting knocks applied are far from preposterous.
The stakes are raised as corruption within Interpol is uncovered and a hit is made by terrorists to cover themselves , turning an arranged secret meeting into a hit mans playground. An office where agents can call in information and reassign is also hit , leaving the husk of a room littered with bloodied bodies like a chamber of death. Chance deals Mark a lucky get out of jail free card , although he is soon reunited with Henkel and Kube , to be drawn in as the third player for the gangs next hit in Milan. With the authorities on high alert following the hit’s the police pounce upon the gang of three and Olga Kube is forcibly arrested. Henkel will not leave his rose of death to wilt in the custody of the law and calls upon help to take a train load of passengers hostage , the ransom being the safe release of Kube.
With a taut and claustrophobic edginess , brought about by the ever decreasing net of Interpol being applied from both outside and inside the close nit terrorist group , this gripping crime thriller hits its home run. The final stand off plays out with a suitably satisfying conclusion to a terrific series of Mark outings.
Franco Gasparri is excellent in the role , deftly applying his own pair of Italian designed Serpico shoes to step into that were worn so well by Hollywood star Al Pacino. Gasparri even sports a designer perm for the movie this time out and is just as slick and convincing in the role that he makes his own. The combination of Director Massi and his star Gasparri is a street wise one that definitely makes its Mark.
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