Typically hardboiled and explosive Mafiosi actioner from, Fernando Di Leo, with the stoic to the point of rigidity, Henry Silva delivering yet another bravura performance as the ice-veined thug, Nick Lanzetta, with Hollywood icon, Richard Conte lending considerable gravitas as the Sicilian king pin, Don Carrasco. All this stylish retribution is served admirably by a funky and uber infectious score by long-time Di Leo collaborator, Luis Enriquez Bacalov. Il Boss remains one of the all-time great mafia flicks, and thankfully, Di Leo flinch’s not a jot from the requisite ultra violence. If you have yet to witness any of Fernando Di Leo’s meticulously crafted gangster oeuvre, one should start here, as, Henry Silva’s Nick Lanzetta is the most Machiavellian and blood thirsty hit man to ever blaze a crimson swathe across the silva screen.
Masterful genre Director, Fernando Di Leo mines euro crime gold with ‘La Mala Ordina’, which proves to be yet another a satisfying, full bore actioner with everyone’s favourite concrete-haired heavy, Henry Silva teaming up with the towering, Woody Strode as two quick-fisted, slow-witted NY hoods whose demonstrative presence amongst the Italian underworld engenders a deadly schism betwixt the two rival factions; the Italian contingent bristling in vociferous indignation as the arrogant, Silva and Strode throw their considerable cumulative weight around. And it has to be said that, Armando Trovajoli’s grittier than gunpowder crime funk score is a break heavy delight; a veritable phat bass’d motherlode for beat junkies and audiophiles alike.
After viewing Castellari’s ‘High Crime’ and Di Leo’s ‘Milano Calibro 9′ my life-long obsession with Italian crime cinema began in earnest; and a more suitable baptismal font from which to anoint oneself with euro crime’s original sin would be hard to find, as ‘Milano Calibro 9’ remains one of the towering achievements of Di Leo’s woefully undocumented career. From the bravura opening montage; where Di Leo creates a tense, dynamic pulse of underworld chicanery, driven to a tumultuous climax by the dense, throbbing, almost baroque jazz funk of, Luis Bacalov (arguably his finest score). And from then on Di Leo is unerring in his fierce vision of violent double dealings and unflinching vengeance, with nary a skipped beat for the film’s duration, a rollicking, breathless yarn gloriously undiluted by soft-bellied tangents, or vapid self indulgeance. The gangster milieu simply doesn’t get any better than this; as much as I dig on Melville’s studied, glacial cool, Di Leo’s swarthy mise en scene has balls the size of prize winning pumpkins. Some may find all these myriad of hyperbolic blogs dedicated to a Italian crime cinema a trifle perplexing…then, oh yes! They discover ‘Milano Calibro 9’, and in one brutal pole axing knee to the oily conkers it’s all over; one can never return to the anodyne world of mainstream cinema without a considerable degree of incredulity. Forget Hubbard, quantum mechanics or Castaneda, this film WILL change your life.