The Seven-Ups (1973)

PG   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama

The Seven-Ups (1973) Poster

A tough detective who is part of an elite New York City unit is trying to find out who killed his partner, but uncovers a plot to kidnap mobsters for money.


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24 March 2013 | lost-in-limbo
| "We don't make mistakes."
From the man who brought cinema-goers 1968 "Bullit" and 1971 "The French Connection", Philip D'Antoni goes on to produce, but also make his directorial debut with the realistic, tough-as-nails crime thriller "The Seven-Ups" starring an unwavering Roy Scheider as the leader of a secret squad of the New York police who got their name from the minimum sentence of their targeted gangsters. Things go pear shape when their own is killed in action and the men seek their own justice.

While this urban cop formula might be overworked, it's rather well-done for its type with exciting passages like the scorchingly intense high- speed car chase. It's masterful in its execution and camera positional work. D'Antoni resourcefully keeps a fast pace, where tension is sustained through good writing, elaborate plotting (where it does show its cards early), vivid performances and well-timed thrills and spills with smooth editing. Really it's quite minimal on the action leaning towards the investigative digging, but when it occurs it's explosive and raw. Just the way the 70s loved it. One thing that did catch my attention was Don Ellis' dangerously impulsive music score. Very unhinged, but it did suit the film's dark, relentless tone.

The story is very much character based and the performances are assured across the board. Victor Arnold, Jerry Leon and Ken Kercheval make-up the rest of "The Seven-ups". Tony Lo Bianco magnificently holds up alongside Scheider as his go-to-man for information. Then there's Larry Haines as one the head mobsters. However in the bad guy roles it was Bill Hickman and especially the striking Richard Lynch who stood out. Lynch was terrifically menacing. Also in a minor part is genre actor Joe Spinell.

Compelling, lean and mean 70's cop drama.

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