13 October 2009 | Witchfinder-General-666
Another Gritty & Great Poliziottesco by Umberto Lenzi
With great works in a variety of genres, such as Gialli, Poliziotteschi and Cannibal Flicks, Umberto Lenzi is doubtlessly one of the most productive and versatile directors in Italian Exploitation/Cult-Cinema. And, along with Fernando Di Leo, he is arguably the ultimate master of the Italian crime-genre. Though maybe just not quite as great (and neither quite as brutal and uncompromising) as its predecessor "Roma A Mano Armata" ("Rome Armed To The Teeth", 1976) or the masterpiece "Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare" ("Almost Human", 1974), "Il Cinico, L'Infame, Il Violento" aka. "The Cynic, The Rat And The Fist" of 1977 is yet another gritty and great Poliziottesco by Lenzi.
Its title doubtlessly being derived from Sergio Leone's 1966 masterpiece "Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo" (better known as "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", and arguably the greatest Western ever made), "The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist" stars three iconic actors in Italian genre-cinema, Maurizio Merli, Tomas Milian and John Saxon. This is a sequel to Lenzi's own "Roma A Mano Armata", in which Maurizio Merli reprises his role of the super-tough and uncompromising Inspector Leonardo Tanzi. Tanzi is a supremely bad-ass, unorthodox Rome cop who hates criminals as he hates crime and whose methods make Dirty Harry seem tame in comparison. Tomas Milian is back with greatness, in a different villain-role than that he played in the predecessor. Leonardo Tanzi, who has retired from the police in this one and yet keeps chasing down (and beating up) criminals is targeted by Luigi 'Er Cinese' Maietto ("Tomas Milian") a brutal and unscrupulous criminal whom he helped bring to justice and who has just been released from prison. After an attempt on his life, Tanzi fakes his own death, which gives him the opportunity to secretly carry on with his investigations. 'Er Cinese', in the meantime, has founded an alliance with the Italian-American mob boss Frank Di Maggio (John Saxon), a man who likes to feed enemies to his dogs...
It isn't explained which titular attribute refers to whom of the characters. Even so, Merli is doubtlessly 'the Fist' ('Il Violento'), and it's safe to assume that Milian is 'the Cynic', which would make Saxon 'The Rat' ('L'infame'/the infamous). All three leading men are great as always. Merli is great in his typical leading role of the unorthodox and super-tough copper and John Saxon shines as the slick Mafia Don; however, one might still say that the number one performance in this film comes from Tomas Milian, who is once again downright brilliant in the role of another cynical and sadistic thug. The supporting cast includes many regulars of Italian genre-cinema, such as Guido Alberti or Bruno Corazzari. The film is action-packed, full of violent shootouts, chases and sequences of genre-typical brutality. As Lenzi's other Poliziotteschi, the film is accompanied by a great score, this one being composed by Franco Micalizzi, who also did the scores for "Roma A Mano Armata" and "Napoli Violenta". Even this does not quite reach the level of "Milano Odia" and "Roma A Mano Armata", in my opinion, it is still a gritty, violent, immensely entertaining and simply great Crime offering by Umberto Lenzi, carried by loads of action, three sublime leading men and Lenzi's magnificent direction. Not to be missed by lovers of cinematic bad-assery!