HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
   
 
Newest Articles
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
   
 
  Big Racket, The All guns blazing
Year: 1976
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Stars: Fabio Testi, Vincent Gardenia, Renzo Palmer, Orso Maria Guerrini, Glauco Onorato, Marcella Michelangeli, Romano Puppo, Antonio Marsina, Sal Borgese, Joshua Sinclair, Daniele Dublino, Anna Zinnemann, Edy Biagetti, Salvatore Billa, Giovanni Bonadonna
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tough cop Nico Palmieri (Fabio Testi) faces an uphill struggle investigating an extortion racket inflicted upon a sleepy Italian village, where the inhabitants are too terrified to speak out against a mob of violent criminals. When Palmieri finally convinces mild-mannered restaurateur Luigi Giulti (Renzo Palmer) to testify, the mobsters brutally rape his young daughter (Marcella Michelangeli). Then when Olympic skeet-shooting champion Gianni Rossetti (Orso Maria Guerrini) comes to the policeman’s aid during a mob ambush, the thugs invade his home, rape his wife (Anna Zinneman) then burn her alive. Suspecting the crooks have a man on the inside, Palmieri’s unorthodox solution is to recruit wily old rogue Pepe (Vincent Gardenia) who commits a string of non-violent bank robberies alongside his young nephew, in a bid to ferret out the rival gang lord. Unfortunately the scheme backfires resulting in a lynching and Palmieri’s dismissal from the police force. With nothing left to lose, Palmieri forms a vigilante force including the vengeful Luigi, Gianni and Pepe, alongside a similar grudge-bearing mafia don Pierro Mazzarelli (Glauco Onorato) and a mob hitman, for a final bloody showdown with the mobsters.

1976 was a vintage year for Italian action auteur Enzo G. Castellari. Alongside his spaghetti western masterpiece Keoma, the costume romp The Loves and Times of Scaramouche and the spoof western Cry Onion!, Castellari delivered this nihilistic crime thriller that many rate as a political commentary on the corruption and terrorism plaguing Italy during the Seventies. Although Castellari certainly delivers the dynamic action, extraordinary stunts and ingenious camerawork for which he is rightly famed (notably an inside view of a car rolling downhill as Palmieri tumbles amidst flying shards of glass), as a political statement The Big Racket is rather muddled.

Structure-wise, the plot runs much the same as Street Law (1974): a series of grim atrocities escalating ever higher until a brutal warehouse finale. Whilst breaking taboos regarding the depiction of sex and violence (e.g. a pair of sickening sexual assaults often truncated in most UK prints), Castellari actually upholds a conservative viewpoint. The wisecracking hoodlums embody every middle-aged bourgeoisie’s idea of youth gone awry, while the brains behind the gang is unmasked as a sharp-dressed, smooth-talking Englishman named Rudy (Joshua Sinclair). The film’s anti-crime and corruption message treads perilously close to an anti-liberal subtext as the crooks hide their homicidal impulses behind political indignation, there are the usual arguments about the law protecting criminals rather than citizens while the chief instigators of crime in this small Italian town are largely foreigners. By contrast, Palmieri turns a blind eye to Pepe and his nephew who regularly rob tourists at gunpoint. Thus the film implies established local criminals are decent sorts compared to these young thugs from overseas. Tourists are fair game, but the foreign hoodlums pick on local businessmen, thus jeopardising the Italian economy.

Palmieri’s righteous indignation combines with Castellari’s love of action and fails to note the irony in combating organised crime by turning mild-mannered citizens into homicidal maniacs. Nevertheless The Big Racket does not make a convincing argument for taking a proactive stance against crime, given none of the principals walk away from the climactic carnage and implies the lone survivor has been driven completely insane. However, charismatic matinee idol Fabio Testi makes a compelling hero and Castellari fans will relish every blood squib and slow-motion stunt staged amidst a typically pulsating Guido and Maurizio De Angelis score.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2325 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: