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Friday, September 18, 2015

LIBERI ARMATI PERICOLOSI / YOUNG, VIOLENT, DANGEROUS (1976)

The considerable cult built around Italian writer/director Fernando Di Leo, largely for his violent mob/revenge pics of the early ‘70s, comes with a built in problem: the guy’s not much of a megger. Enter commercial director Romolo Guerrieri, who brings hardy technical chops to this characteristic Di Leo script, with a sweet series of action set pieces (including a spanking Milan-set car chase) and generally screwing up the tension. Sounds like a big plus for Di Leo, but stronger execution proves something of a mixed blessing, exposing other problems lurking under the cunning plot mechanics, like simplistic socio-politics, arbitrary character motivation, facile juxtapositions. Set in fashionable Milan, the story follows a trio of wild well-to-do aimless young men (later joined by a recalcitrant girlfriend) over a violent spree of robbery & murders; hunted down by solid, stolid detective Tomas Milian. In the worst scene in the pic, he chastises their moms & dads for laissez-faire parenting. Painfully retro psychology, even for the era. And doubly hard to swallow since, other than Guerrieri’s edit-happy action stuff, the film’s best idea comes out of making the boys equal opportunity anarchists. Acting out against authority, school chums, fellow criminals, even campers, but bopping about like a boy band.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Worth a look just for the mid-‘70s Milano clothes, cars & grooming. (BTW, the original Italian title is closer to FREE, ARMED, HAZARDOUS.)

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: No color process mentioned in the credits, no doubt some Tri-Pack/EastmanColor knockoff, but it puts out the greeniest Day-Glo green you’ve ever seen.

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