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  • Here is a backstory you will not find in a comic book, but likely deserves one anyway.

    A non-traditional director does a superhero film in Italy (believed to the first ever) and sets it against a backdrop of actual themes and events and social issues well known to those who live there.

    Unlike Marvel and DC, who are fighting each other to the death in an insane crusade to monetize every last story, treatment, and dust bunny in their respective archives, director Mainetti took what he needed from the superhero mythology and threw the rest out.

    The mere fact that this movie does not care about a sequel or a franchise or a merchandising spin off gives it instant points in my book.

    When you look closely at it, and see solid writing, good performances, and even a "tragic romance" as good as anything from a daytime soap, you realize that we have something very special here.

  • In the attempt of hiding from the police, Enzo Ceccotti, a small street criminal, jumps in the very polluted river Tevere; a few days after he'll discover to have acquired extraordinary powers.

    I'm sure that it will not be easy to fully comprehend the beauty of this movie if you don't understand the complexity of the contemporary Italy. This movie depicts perfectly a country full of contradictions: a breath-taking city envied all over the world that hides a degraded outskirt deep inside; a generation of children stuck in their grown ups bodies with their vanilla puddings and their Japanese anime on local TV channels; a criminal class that fluctuates from the ridiculousness to the ruthlessness to whom money has the same importance than popularity and Youtube visualization numbers; and a criminal with no emotional bonds, values or reasons to do good (that would not inspire empathy in any other superhero movies), is saved from an unexpected "damsel in distress" and becomes the hero of a community that often looks hopeless to those who live here every day but that sometimes, unexpectedly, finds its superpowers in the common people, the real heroes of this crazy, misunderstood country.
  • A very good film, not afraid of showing on the screen the ugly people we are. This looked like a real National product to me, devoid of major foreign influences: it recalled much more of Pasolini's suburbs or of Pazienza's bad boys than of Deadpool or Kick-Ass. Which is something I liked very much.

    A catching opening scene, a solid plot, some very good actors and a great villain (Fabbio: Luca Marinelli won a David for this performance) will make you overlook some lack of craftsmanship in special effects or in action scenes.

    And originality is priceless. So sometimes is good to diverge from International main stream, I guess. Enjoy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Courageous debut for Mainetti, who has chosen a genre unfamiliar to Italian cinema. Due to budget limitations, focusing on characters and environment was the only route to take, and that was managed pretty well, adapting the classic superhero movies plot to Italy (specifically Rome) background: there aren't people who want to save or conquer the world, just people that struggle to go on living among criminals and Camorra bosses. Filthy Tevere river, filthy rooms and filthy souls. All the main characters live at the margin of society, a society that refuses them and doesn't give a chance to change their condition. Enzo is a low grade thief who has lost all hopes on society and on its own life, living day to day with no ambitions, eating yogurt and watching porn movies, and uses the superpowers casually granted to him just to repeat his habits over and over. Alessia is a girl with a mental disorder who escapes reality by continuously watching the Jeeg Robot anime and relating everything to it. Zingaro (the Gypsy) is trying to find his place on the world (Rome) by achieving fame, failing with usual ephemeral means through TV shows, and now trying to be the most known and feared criminal (again, in Rome). "Normal" people seem to live in another universe, behind a one way mirror: Enzo watches and despises them, while they pretend not to see him and , in general, the horrors of the world. This situation is interrupted only by terrorist attacks, that recall those that in Italy are called Years of Lead, and later by Enzo's switch towards "good". It's really amazing the constant tie to reality that the movie has, despite the superpowers: common streets, common people, common criminals and common situations (the first good action of Enzo is saving a little girl involved in a car accident). Good acting for the 3 main roles: Santamaria and Pastorelli (i was surprised by her, since she came from Italian Big Brother reality show, i had my doubts) did a great work, Marinelli shines in his villain role. Solid direction from Mainetti with a couple scenes i personally liked: Zingaro assault on Camorra clan and the scenes on Enzo's house where Jeeg was screened on the wall. Soundtrack consists mostly of years '80 Italian pop music, and i find it fitting. Script is where the movie has some weaknesses, the plot is too straightforward (but as i said before, that's most likely a choice), and the final confrontation didn't convince me. Interesting references to other movies, even Kill Bill, and of course the Jeeg anime. As a side note, since Mainetti knows well Japan animes as they inspired some of his previous works, i wonder if that's the same for Japanese new wave directors. I noticed some similarities with Sion Sono's themes: dysfunctional families, psychological and physical abuses, violence as a mean of self-awareness, technology amplifying or leading to delusions and solitude. If that's the case, that's for sure a great addition. Once, something considered impossible happened: Italy mastered and created his own Western genre, passing through Japan. I don't know if this will happen with superheroes, but this movie surely marks a good starting point.
  • Oh my, just when I thought I see it all, another hidden gem surprises me. This movie has everything, and even when I think I will never see a more controversial relationship between two main characters since "Leon, The Professional", Enzo and Alessia appear. A weird movie, with a rare plot, but I need to say that better than a lot of American superheros movies that saturate the cinematography year by year these days. Just hope this will not be just a one hit wonder and the director continue these franchise because they could have a future if they make the right moves. A sad story, with a non-conventional approach, for be "a superhero movie", but that is well executed and will take a place between my favorite films outside of Hollywood. Great work!!!!
  • Enzo (Claudio Santamaria) is a small-town crook in Rome, stealing purses and taking on small jobs with other crooks just to get by; after one such incident, he finds himself being chased by the cops and the only way to escape them is to jump into the Tiber River. Unfortunately for him, the place where he jumps conceals a number of barrels containing toxic waste, and one of them has been leaking. He suddenly finds himself with superpowers, and uses them to steal for himself until one day he meets Alessia (Ilenia Pastorelli), a young woman lost in a fantasy world featuring the Japanese anime Steel Jeeg. She convinces him to use his powers for good, but she doesn't know that a super-villain, Fabio (Luca Marinelli), wants to subvert Enzo for his own ends…. This film is a hoot, a shout-out to Italy's 1970s love affair with the (real) "Steel Jeeg" anime from Japan, and a gritty tale from the dark belly of the big city all at the same time, and all done with exquisite Italian flare. (Fabio, for example, has a fabulous dress sense and has a small-time claim to fame as a one-time contestant on a TV talent show, which everyone mistakes for the Italian version of "Big Brother.") There's lots of action, of course, but also a quieter story of how Enzo gains superpowers which lead to him gaining his soul. This movie won a bunch of Italian film awards, and it's easy to see why - it's by turns charming, brutal, thrilling and tender. Anyone familiar with the genre will know from the beginning how it will end, but the journey itself is a terrific ride, and lots of fun!
  • Go with it! Actually run with it would be better. And the filmmaker of this one did exactly that. It's always about the money, although you couldn't tell the budget for this one, because the mind goes a long way. And they really though of something that while it may not be unique, it very much feels like it is. And that alone is worth more than a really big budget.

    So if you are open minded and like weird Indie movies, you will have the time of your life with this one. It's our anti-hero who's carrying this, but also the female lead who's helping a lot (maybe not always literally but you get the point). It may feel creepy or wrong at times, but that just goes to show you, that the movie is rough on the edges. And it's refreshing that it doesn't seem to mind about correctness one way or another. One of the best Fantasy movies in the last couple of years - and who said Italy couldn't do any Genre movies anymore?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Set in Rome, this film follows the stories of two men living in the suburbs. Enzo, the hero, reincarnates the classic criminal who has nothing worth to lose. His only satisfaction left, are his habits, which are pretty pathetic. Enzo doesn't care about anything, health, nutrition or social relationships. He doesn't even care much about money, as his profession would suggest. He is not the person that asks too much when he is offered a new job. Enzo seems comfortable with his loneliness. He is nothing you would expect a superhero to be like, even before owning superpowers.

    On the other side, Zingaro, the villain. He is not the classic megalomaniac and lunatic villain, who aims to own the world. Zingaro works with a few guys, looking for the upper step in the criminal context of Rome. As seen in many gangster movies, Zingaro plays the unofficial leader, who always tries to show his madness and pretends respect, sometimes in a pretty crazy way.

    The main difference between these two characters are their aspirations. While Enzo looks for a monotonous low-level criminal life to afford his pleasures: eating yogurt and watching porn movies, Zingaro looks for his position in the top gangsters of Rome.

    What excited me about this movie is the missing superhero-classic transformation of Enzo when he gains superpowers. While you would expect Enzo to become a people-caring superhero, he remains in his dark habitat and steals for him. In fact, the first thing he does when he figures out what he is capable of, is literally stealing an ATM. The only transformation is not caused by his superpowers, but by Alessia, a lunatic girl who lives in her fantastic world and has an enormous passion for the Japanese anime Steel Jeeg. Thanks to her, Enzo discovers the meaning of taking care of another person. He discovers love. Even if he know that Alessia has some mind-related problems, he doesn't feel any pity. When Alessia dies, he doesn't look for any revenge. Instead he tries to follow Alessia's dreams: being a superhero, just like Steel Jeeg. This will lead him to battle Zingaro, who earned the same superpowers Enzo owns. While Zingaro offers him a criminal partnership (something he have already seen in Spiderman - 2002), Enzo changed. He doesn't want to be a bad person anymore and fights Zingaro until the end.
  • Well, one year after his release I finally watch "They Call Me Jeeg". I had great expectations for this movie, and most of it was met. This movie tell the story of a "superhero" produced in Italy and directed and interpreted by Italian director and actors,who have become accustomed to the usual "cine-panettoni", I can call it a "small masterpiece". Of course, it is not perfect, in fact in some points the acting (in some cases), the accuracy of certain details, the characterization of some characters and the audio of the movie(although, all in all, in a few moments). Finally, after seeing 1173 movies in my life, I think I can say that this movie deserves a lot, considering also Gabriele Mainetti's still not have many experiences as a director. So I suggest to all those who have lost it to dedicate 1: 52h of their time. Thanks for reading and regards from Sombrero.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Italy just got its first superhero movie, a crook satisfied with his loneliness and who doesn't care for his health. He is not your typical hero, actually he starts his superhero career with the stealing of an ATM. Clearly, this genre is not common in the Italian cinema, but the director and the writers did a pretty good job. They adapted the concept of a hero in the city of Rome (which I think it's a first), gave him a super-villain to fight and a lunatic girl to take care of, in order to discover his true self and use his powers for the greater good. Unlike Hancock, whose vice is alcohol, Enzo loves yogurt. After he steals money, he fills his fridge with a lot of yogurt. He is also a pervert who constantly watches porn. Despite all his vices, the world he lives in is not better than him. Terrorist attacks, gang related kills and a lot of people who appear to be indifferent with the world they live in. There are some similarities between Kick-Ass and this film, especially the part where Zingaro assaults the Camorra clan on some Italian pop song. Hit-Girl does the same with some thugs, only she does it on punk rock. Of course the movie has some weaknesses. The plot seems a little straightforward, maybe because they aren't looking for a sequel. Could have been a little funnier, but I think the director wanted the hero to remain in a dark side. The scene when he tried to put his toe back made me laugh. (Deadpool would make fun of him). I think the Italians should make more films like this, they are obviously going on the right track. Hollywood should take some notes from foreign films. I recommend this film even if you know from the beginning how it will end, the cast makes sure you will have fun and be thrilled by their good performance.
  • Gabriele Mainetti has made a quite unusual movie for Italian standard. With an outstanding cinematography and a very good acting, he takes us among "Roma sud" outskirts where a neorealistic superhero and a psychopath villain fight to survive their doomed daily lives. As all good graphic novel teach us, this kind of story need a strong philosophy between the lines, that can't be just replaced with some romantic- even if well done- moments. Too bad: "Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot" just lack strong dialogues and quote to be perfect in its own class. In fact, even if actors are perfect in their own roles, all dialogues target their force overall on roman slang, leaving me a little bit disappointed. Because the movie shows some very violent and bizarre scenes, someone in Italy compared Mainetti style to Tarantino's one. I hope next time Mainetti will borrow from Tarantino not just the violence but also the art of writing script and dialogues strong enough for a superhero movie.
  • Trupiaar10 December 2017
    As some other reviewers have stated, they took a lot of what has become tired and tedious in our current super hero movies, thrown it out, and done something nice and fresh (as much as can be done with a superhero movie anyway).

    Real issues, real people, real concern for the characters. You see movies like this and wonder why our current American producers in Hollywood can't seem to find an original story, director, or thought.

    I swear, it's gotta be drugs.
  • Mrpalli7729 October 2019
    Just go straight to the point. I love the scenes in which "Zingaro" Fabio Cannizzaro is involved, mainly those showed him singing. Great performance as well for Vincenzo, who played later Genny Sevastano in "Gomorra". Anyway an amazing movie about a real hero from the barrio, who gets great powers from toxic waste. I hoped this movie would be as successful abroad as it was in Italy, but I think you should live in Italy to understand all the matters involved.
  • I love Italian movies and series because mostly are high quality products. Here we have a little pretty anti hero gem called Jeeg Robot. First, the acting is quite good. Pretty raw and credible. Some familiar faces from Gomorrah. Second, the cinematography and the FX's are pretty good. Not excessive CGI used. And last, the script was quite good. Some not predictable turns. So, overall a great little great gem again coming from Italy.
  • Gabriele Mainetti? A cinematic genius who has created a film worthy of note with a cast of characters made ​​to measure.

    Plot, scores,sets and actors joined local interpretation make the winning feature film.

    Rating? Above my expectations, so I booked the ticket immediately for second screening.

    I love Pulp and Film Heroes, two kinds nonexistent in Italian film productions.

    Big Gabriele Mainetti.

    Cheers !!
  • this is a slow, somewhat disjointed little number. it holds an enjoyable darkness that keeps you just out of your comfort zone.

    better subtitles would have helped along with less random plot lines, however there is a lot to make up for that, it is cleverly filmed and you are left with a feeling for a grimy cheap world of an Italian underclass.

    the psychopath is a delight and the random criminal activities lurched from surreal to weird without quite hitting the mainstream.

    I would recommend it of you are looking for something a little different from the usual mainstream pap.
  • d_carlotaj10 February 2020
    I kept trying to skip past this one particular movie and landing back on it. So I said, well I guess I should maybe see it. And I was surprised that it was watchable. It was entitled They Call Me Jeeg. It was an Italian superhero movie, and it seemed like it was some kind of Batman/Riddler rendition. But the really cool thing was the guy playing The Riddler. He was a hambone unleashed and loved every minute of being really rotten. And he was really rotten. I give it 4 stars for him alone.
  • James_De_Bello30 September 2016
    Enzo Ceccoti (Claudio Santamaria) is a small time thief living in the poor suburbs of Rome under the same roof as more dangerous criminals lead by the 'Zingaro' (Luca Marinelli) from which he occasionally accepts dirty, little jobs. On one of these, whilst escaping from the police, he accidentally trips into a tank of radioactive material and ends up gaining super powers. As a threat rises in the city Enzo has to decide where his morals lie.

    "They Call me Jeeg Robot" ("Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot" original title) comes in as one of the first major Italian production in the super hero genre. Whilst it can't be faulted for lack of diversity and originality, it doesn't manage to transcend genre clichés in a interesting way and because of an overall faulty execution it can be defined as a fine film on its own, yet nothing, unfortunately, remarkable in the genre.

    The new ideas that spark from the film are many, not all of them work and some are actually the reason the film isn't amazing, but the writers have to be commended for some tropes they manage to subvert and some beautiful touches they manage to add. Ilenia Pastorelli plays Enzo's slightly off balance neighbor and whilst the performances jumps up and down from highs to lows, the character always has something deeply touching about her. I want to avoid spoilers of any sort here, but to sum it up her dynamic was clearly thought out and executed with a pleasant delicacy that was required and hard to hit.

    Claudio Santamaria is actually an excellent protagonist and one of few words, which Santamaria pulls off greatly. Of all the characters in the film, his was the only one that never lost audience attachment and always gave a clear vision of his motivations and his development. His arch might not be as original as people think, actually quite the contrary, but he is brought to life with an affection and an attention to detail that makes him a character worth following.

    From a directorial point of view there are many things that could be said both in positive and negative side. What is interesting is to see a first time feature director bring to life such a particular vision. I don't use particular randomly because there are many tonal flaws and ideas that don't work, but there is a very solid voice in the directing and Mainetti pulls his vision off, making his world live and breathe an unusual diversity and an atmosphere that is dark and twisted in its very own way.

    Where the film looses steam is in some of the performances, coming admittedly from undeveloped or cartoonish characters, from plot turns that result deeply clichéd and deprive the film of a depth it was hinting, but most of all the tonal shifts are all over the place and make for a disjointed experience where you loose track of where the moral balance lies. From darkly comic interventions, to full on dramatic character explosions, to comedic light moments that don't really belong where they are, these continuous shifts make the film really choppy and undermine its world building which is another element it really lacks. We don't understand where in the world the story takes place fictionally, we don't understand the rules of this land, the social climate is never clear for the audience and since it seems that the film is actually making quite an effort to make you understand it, since it plays an important role in the storytelling, the fact that I didn't grasp it was all the more underwhelming.

    On an action and technical level the film does have merits for managing to cope with such a small budget and making out of it something that is fully deserving of theatrical release. It shows that this is Mainetti's first feature and many edges have to be rounded off in the action department: the hits are never shown on camera. On the other hand, the director uses the hand-held shot in a particularly pleasing way, making the shots breathe and giving each of them multiple beats which is always nice to see.

    Whilst this movie will not be remembered in the hall of great super hero films from this era it is good to see different personalities jump into the genre and give their own wild take on it even if not succeeding in a masterful execution.
  • An superhero iteration from Italian cinema, THEY CALL ME JEEG is director debut from Gabriele Mainetti. Our reluctant hero is a small-time criminal Enzo (Santamaria), who gains superhuman strength after falling into a barrel of radioactive waste in the Tiber river when chased by police in the snappy opening sequence.

    The story might be transposed to a new location, Rome's seedy outskirt where criminal act runs rampant, yet the narrative structure is more or less commonplace like its many a predecessor, Enzo must adhere to the same road-to-redemption drill to voluntarily take on his responsibility of helping those who are in extremis, although the first thing occurring to Enzo's mind is to rob an ATM machine once he has realized what he is capable of doing. (Btw, ATM machine will automatically deface the notes with ink once it is opened by force, everyday, you live and learn!)

    It is interesting to posit Enzo as a misanthropic deadbeat, feeding off from pornography and self- loathing, so he needs a conduit to lead him to wear that mask and cape, and here comes Alessia (Pastorelli, a screen debutante), the mentally impaired girl living downstairs with her father Sergio (Ambrogi), she is possessed with the popular Japanese manga STEEL JEEG and insists that Enzo is the incarnation of its hero Hiroshi Shiba. A dissonance occurs when we realize Enzo and Sergio are acquaintance-in-crimes, yet, the way the film introduces Enzo to Alessia gives us the impression that they just know each other for the first time. When Sergio is dispatched by a drug mule, the story predictably binds Enzo and Alessia together, and piles on woeful back-stories to the damsel- in-distress in order to attain sympathy, both from Enzo and audience,the result is 50/50.

    The problem is that Alessia, played with verve by Pastorelli nonetheless, vacillates in her personalities at the convenience of the plot, she appears to be obtuse enough to bury herself in her infantile fantasy (all she wants is a princess dress) so as not to question the fount of Enzo's superpower and just play along, in other occasions, lucid enough to invigorate Enzo's sense of justice and affection, not to mention gallantly stabbing her kidnapper at a critical moment. So what is the real deal of her? We would never get a full picture since she has one last mission to perform - a dramatic exit to kick-start our hero's conscience.

    The chief villain here is Zingaro aka. the Gypsy, a crazed psychopath play by Marinelli, the alumnus from Saverio Costanzo's THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS (2010), with unbridled bravado, to counter Enzo's more muted personality. Taking reference from today's spiked fame from YouTube and reality show, the Gypsy has a maniacal hunger for fame,and blatantly takes a leaf out of the Joker's book, the pomp of wanton volatility and cartoonish grandstanding is duly underlay, only to be undermined in the eleventh hour by the much hyped blast, betrays that the movie's budget runs out quickly. Also, it is hardly not to notice, theoretically, our hero's nemesis could fall upon the shoulders of the equally cold-blooded alpha gangster Nunzia (Truppo), but as often as not, there is still no room for women to break that glass ceiling as far as superhero fares are concerned.

    At any rate, THEY CALL ME JEEG is to say the least, a competent genre piece, might not be innovative as we wanted it to be, yet, it at least plays up the pipe dream from a worm's eye-view, an ordinary type who is endowed with something extraordinary, still gets a rueful sigh when he finds out the rehabilitation of a chopped pinkie toe is just his wishful thinking.
  • wassago-4802110 November 2016
    awesome... 'cause its really different in any dimension, mind you this movie before than "deadpool", and if you like it, that is the answer.

    moreover, beyond than the level of dark humor and the human touch...

    the crazy chick in the movie seems well acted, front line impressions are surround us, confuse us.

    my comment ended up here, but you know i need ten stupid lines to show you so, the bad guy so obsessive like exaggerated form of anyone of us, a bit social-media mania evolved here with a good tastes.

    the main character, namely anti-hero "jeeg" actually hurt so bad, but its not the focal point, psychologically this generate more fun factor then character transferred to audience more emphatic stance, especially in the second part of that movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Plain awful. Do anything else, throw marshmallows at stray dogs, pinch wallets, try to pee in a beer can, sell your body in parts. Anything is better than watching a badly acted and awfully written Kick-Ass/Hancock clone. Terrible B movie. At least Kick-Ass was funny and ironic, Hancock had great special effects, this dough is even trying to be dramatic. The only character building up throughout the movie is the loony girl, and she gets killed for no reason whatsoever. Her acting is dreadful (apparently she comes from a TV reality show), but her character is the only element of interest in the movie. Santamaria is just as wooden as Pinocchio. After she dies anybody else might as well turn into flaming zombies and bite everyone, you wouldn't give a rat's behind, anyway. The wooden puppet playing the bad guy should have been court martialed for his insanely bad acting. Steer clear, it is awful.
  • GOOD. Italian ci-fi of a superhero. In reality, he is a type of anti-hero, a delinquent who lives on small urban crimes and who suddenly discovers he has supernatural powers. It somewhat resembles another character from American cinema and comic books: Deadpool. For those who have seen one of the Deadpool films, you will know what it is about. Perhaps it is a trend in modern cinema to create unconventional superhero stories, with satire, humor, irony, and sarcasm. The special effects are simple but suited to the purpose of the narrative. The story is interesting and entertaining. Like almost all superhero films, the film's events are forged by the author to match the narrative. It's a good movie for entertainment, which is what matters. I recommend.
  • Ctaylor198022 October 2018
    What an Amazing experience, and it was not afraid of showing on the screen how ugly people we are. This was a rate treat and I can't recommend it enought. Incredible acting and unbelievable beautiful cinematography. I want to say this this on my top three films of all time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm Italian and as almost all of Italian movies i saw were garbage wasn't so happy to watch this movie. after a while i decided to give it a try and i was really disappointed. how the hell could they get the right to put a jeeg robot name into it really confuse me. it would be a bit better if they put hiroshi shiba in the name instead of jeeg robot. the female actress is a big brother person so what can u expect from that? for sure not good acting as a movie should get to raise their enjoying for public. about the story of the movie they put many rude things into it like porn magazine, drugs, raped person and so on to make the movie darker, but that's not what i was expecting with that name. i heard some friends who liked that movie, and many others who don't. if u like transformers and u watch transformers movie , they are OK since they are all about transformers + good story + good special effect and good actors. just watched once and I'm enough with it.
  • baumhenrik27 October 2019
    Found this movie on Amazon Prime and gave it a try. This movie is weird mostly because of the three main characters that all have their own sort of weirdness but not in a good way. I don't actually know what to think about this but I can say that I did not like it.

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