Every now and then, I'll be scanning my DVD collection like a cyborg, trying to find a movie that has everything I am in the mood for. This usually means a movie with copious amounts of graphic violence, car chases, sex scenes, horror elements, intense toughened bastards who slap people back and forth, yelling, cool music, shotgun blasts, drama, excitement, evil bad guys, revenge, and high adventure.
So I'll generally stop scanning once I hit the Italian section of my DVD shelves. And i'll either chuck on some Franco Nero, or Ill chuck on some Fabio Testi, If i'm not in the mood for Italian, I'll chuck on some Oliver Reed or James Woods.
So Franco's got his stamp on the westerns, and dare I say, made a better gunslinger out of Keoma and Django that any of his American counterparts.
Fabio, like Luc Merenda and Tomas Milian, has got his mark on the hardened Italian crime thrillers, otherwise known as Poliziotteschi.
Speaking of which, heres Tomas Milian, just for the fuck of it.One day I'll do a big four about him.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to hit you guys up with Fabio Testi's BIG FOUR. That is, his best four films in the Poliziotteschi genre. Revolver, Contraband, The Heroin Busters, and The Big Racket.
So, Revolver ey? Whats it all about? Well I'll tell you.
Vito, a gruff prison warden (Oliver Reed) comes home to find his beloved wife has been kidnapped. In order to get her back unharmed, the warden must break Milo Ruiz, a petty criminal (Fabio Testi) out of jail and deliver him to the kidnappers. But it's not that easy. Vito is constantly tricked and set up, with his wife becoming further away with each progressive step. He finds that he is not only at risk of losing his wife, but he is also at the risk of losing his very mind.
Sergio Sollima (the director) made an interesting comment about the film in the mini-documentary on the DVD. He mentioned that he doesn't consider the film to be anything but a drama about two people, with crime, and thriller elements surrounding them.
He, of course, is right. As the movie goes on, you travel across europe with a macarbe version of the odd couple. You end up being more invested in how they are going to deal with each other, rather than how Vito is going to deal with finding his wife. This is kind of the point. Without spoiling anything, the seemingly abrupt ending with leave you with a short case of the 'hey, hang on what does it all means', but after that passes, the clouds part and complete clarity shines its pretty little way through.
The movie is pumped along by Ennio Morricone, who once again delivers a wicked pulse shattering score, which some of you Inglourious Basterds fans may recognise instantly.
I have to mention aswell that Fabio Testi has some awesome shirts in this film.
Seriously, he looks like Robin Hood.
Anyway, how the hell can you pass this film up? It's got Oliver Reed pointing, yelling and threatening people (which is mind bogglingly awesome, considering he's english, playing an italian prison warden, with an American accent which slips when he gets angry), he beats people up, he slaps them around, gut punches Fabio a number of times (and from what i can tell, it seems like he was drunk enough to land a few on some of the actors for real) and just all round kicks all kinds of ass.
It's got all of the things I mentioned at the beginning of the article, minus the horror element, but that depends on what you class as horror.
What may come across as a wild unorganised shenanigan at the start of the film, slowly but surely becomes a tightly woven and intricate shenanigan by the end of it, and I'll guarantee you that long after the movie ends, it will fill your thoughts. There aren't any 'bad guys', or 'good guys' in this film, just 'guys' with a shitty moral compass.
You gotta watch it. Lest you want Oliver Reed pointing at you.
I have put the trailer below for you to watch its got that familiar music in it, and may be a bit spoilery, but you will forget that when you are watching the film! Turn it up and enjoy!
See you next week with CONTRABAND (AKA: THE NAPLES CONNECTION) In the meantime, what's your favorite Fabio Testi film? Comment below!