Hey gang. Well there are more than a few of you that have asked me when the next Rotten Reelz Reviews Video Review is coming out. I finished the script last week but I haven't gotten to any of the filming yet. That will be on tomorrow's agenda. Oh don't pout. Say, how about a Lucio Fulci movie to tide you over? This time around we are actually looking past his illustrious Horror endeavors and we are going into a crime drama. With smugglers of illegal goods, gangs and cartels, how can we go wrong? This is Contraband.
|Say you look like Sean Connery. SAY IT!|
Not to be confused with the Marky Mark Walberg film in 2012. Nope, we hit the way back machine and set for 1980. Ah yes, an innocent time. Stock market manipulations, Reganomics and cocaine by the truckloads.
Starring Italian film Western and Action legend Fabio Testi (The Black Hand, Speed Driver, The Hawk and the Dove, Madman at War, Mussolini and I, Torrente 3: El protector and Sottocasa)as Luca Di Angelo. He and his brother Mickey (Enrico Maisto of Naples shoots!, Corleone, Naples, a story of love and revenge, Do Not Trust the Mafia and Fear in the City) are moving their ill gotten gains in and narrowly missed getting pinched by the local cops. What results is a decent boat chase scene and co-ordination stunts fleeing the cops. Good they outran the cops the pursuit ship had a Breda M37 heavy machine gun, belt fed so those wooden boats would have been splinters and the smugglers the contents of chunky salsa.
Automatically Luca suspects a rival gangster, Scherino(Fernando Murolo of A Man Called Magnum, Bomber, California, Three Brothers, Neapolitan Sting and Sicilian Connection) for ratting them out.
|Boats...it's all fitting into place now.|
Luca and Mickey express their concerns to da boss, Luigi. He tells them Mario is missing and... no wait. Sorry wrong Luigi. Luigi Perlante (Saverio Marconi of Padre Padrone, Orgo, Difendimi dalla notte, Crimes love and jealousy and Inspector Montalbano). No sooner have they expressed their concerns, one of Mickey's beloved horses is killed. Yeah equine lovers will want to skip that scene, and a fake police barricade is erected (heh heh). The faux cops proceed to gun down everyone in the car. Mickey turned to Swiss cheese but Luca escapes. Seems almost like an homage to Coppola's Godfather when Sonny gets riddled. Fulci, tipping his hat to fellow masters of film.
Sneaking into Scherino's house, Luca almost blows him away when Scherino's men jump Luca, kick the crap out of him and tell him to bounce, claiming no part in the death of his brother.
Luca starts hitting the streets to find out who the bastardo is responsible for all this when he finds out about a Frenchman heroin kingpin is moving in on Naples. The Marsigiliese (Marcel Bozzuffi of Lucky Luke, Colt 38 Special Squad, Safari Rally, The French Connection, To Catch a King and Bilbao Blues) seems to be rubbing out all the gangs left and right, staking a claim to Naples for his own empire. Oh and the title simply means of or one from Marseilles. Bit of a let down, right?
|His final words were, "Jazz Hands!"|
The Marsigiliese doesn't deal well with a heroin shipment getting spoiled as he takes a frickin' blowtorch to a woman's head. Yup, in case you forgot this is a Fulci movie. Expect tons of graphic violence.
With blood being spilled like so much marinara sauce, it is pretty evident that The Marsigiliese doesn't play well with others as the bodies are stacking up like cord wood. AHEM! Where are the damn cops in all of this? My God there are corpses all over the ground, blocking alleys left and right, the hell are the cops? Polizia!!!
Luca, Perlante and Scherino have a meeting about what they're gonna do about the gun happy frog and the meeting feels off. A proposal to join forces and see how to remove him from the picture but again, feels out of sorts.
The Marsigiliese offers a sit down and frankly whoever is stupid enough to break bread with this nutter butter kind of deserves everything coming to them.
Will Luca have his revenge? Can his boss agree with the Marsigiliese? With there be an offer than no one can refuse?
This is a different area of expertise for Fulci and again, commonly I have seen most of his Horror films and a Sci-Fi fantasy film called Conquest. It's dark and gritty as similar to several crime dramas of this time just coming off the cusp the seventies movies like, The French Connection, The Mechanic, Dirty Harry or The Godfather.
Great pacing, simple and elegant story line and yes my version was English dubbed so you just know some of these lines got butchered.
I can't help but notice that Fabio Testi looks like Italian Sean Connery. Similar jawlines, rugged build and hell go look at a current photo of the guy. Cuts his beard like him as well.
Had a good time with this and for the horse lovers, there's a fire but nothing anywhere near the horse. The flames are background super imposed. Yeah I was afraid we'd see smoldering horse too as a dark standing but this isn't an Italian Cannibal animal mutilation exploitation director so we can all relax.
I did start laughing at the fight in the sulfur pits because the fight number sounds like a 70's soft core porn soundtrack.
It's sinister, moody and damn good writing that pops off the page and on the screen. This is deemed a lesser known film but I was blown away by it. Well not as blown away as Mickey of course.
|Looks like Ms. Jackson's turn to be nasty.|