3 January 2017 | Coventry
Run, run... rabid gangster!
I'll never grow tired of watching Italian Poliziotteschi movies from the seventies, even though – admittedly - they are practically all alike and don't feature much of a plot. With "The Last Desperate Hours", the relatively unknown director Giorgio Stegani nevertheless tries to be somewhat different and original. Next to featuring the same old familiar – but beloved - themes, like blood vengeance, gang rivalries and cat-and-mouse games between crooks and coppers, this hidden gem features an additional and interesting "race-against-the- clock" theme. Paolo Mancuso, terrifically depicted by the underrated Antonio Sabato (senior), is an all-round gangster/gentleman, particularly specializing in drugs and prostitution. One night, whilst one the run for a handful of enemies after a failed assassination attempts, Paolo breaks into a science lab to hide himself, but accidentally gets bitten by a virus-infected rat. The next day, he learns via the radio that the still unidentified victim of the bite only has 24 hours left to live without the right medical intervention. Rather than going to the hospital, which basically means reporting to the police, Paolo decides to go on a quest to annihilate who ever betrayed or double-crossed him. Unfortunately, however, he quickly discovers that this includes pretty much everyone he knows
Like the other reviewers already righteously pointed out, this (sub-) plot obviously isn't 100% original and got used in other movies before, but I don't care and think it's perfectly suitable for the Poliziotteschi genre. This is a hardcore action/thriller movie with only despicable characters, raw atmosphere throughout and unhappy plot twists and endings. The soundtrack is fantastic and actually on par with the better ones in the Poliziotteschi genre, even though composer Gianni Marchetti is lesser known and acclaimed than, say, Stelvio Cipriani or Bruno Nicolai. Antonio Sabato gives a wondrous performance as the sleazy protagonist, but he also receives sublime support from the rest of the cast; most notably Pier Paolo Capponi as the rough and tough police inspector. Capponi portrays his character like, I imagine, Milanese police inspectors must have been during the seventies: merciless, emotionless and verbally aggressive against everyone they meet! The film contains numerous violent highlights, including some harsh execution sequences, but the most memorable sequences are undoubtedly the last ones. Seriously, after having sat on the edge of your chair for an entire movie already, you'll still unprepared for the most perplexing and overwhelming lynch mob scene since "M" (1931)