Death Rage (1977)
Anger In His Eyes
Shadow of the Killer
Nomination Year: 2016
SYNOPSIS: We were in a Smithee mood but not a specific Smithee mood which usually winds up with a lot of time wasted hemming and hawing over what movie we are going to watch. Were we in a western mood? Sci-Fi mood? Gangster mood? Cop movie mood? Horror moo-- wait a minute... Yul Brynner? Seriously? In a horror movie?
This we had to see and so we did. We would also like to have a little sit-down with the compilation folks and explain the difference between a horror movie and a suspense movie. I'd say it's the difference between Alien and Aliens, except this was far more like the difference between Alien and Reservoir Dogs.
Yul, who plays a retired hit man, is happily fishing until someone whacks his brother. He unretires himself and jets off to Italy to take out the crime boss who did the deed but there is a slight problem: Yul is a pretty famous retired hit man and the police have their eye on him. They aren't the only ones either, a young and upcoming con man also recognizes Yul and insinuates himself into Yul's life as Yul's go to man. Young con man, who looks like a poor man's Michael J. Fox -- a Michael J. Faux as it were -- is pretty good at getting things and stuff too. At one point we were amused when Faux bypasses police security by assuming the handcuff position and walking in with another captured perp and then takes up some coffee and a tray and waltzes into the briefing room where the police are discussing the return of Yul. Nobody notices Faux until they have all had their coffee either so young con man has some talents.
The movie proceeds pretty typically with the gathering of info on the crime boss and his habits by Yul and Faux and of course the whole obligatory "hardened hit man vs con man wanting to be a hit man" dynamic (does Faux have the stuff to kill a man? Well does he punk?). Sprinkle in a little love interest and this is a pretty straight forward suspense drama with little surprises. Some bits were clever, some bits were weirdly amusing (Deus Ex Marchingband!) and the end was refreshingly ambiguous until the final shot.
Death Rage didn't have an ounce of horror (booo!) but it was a decently-B Italian gangster flick sprinkled with Smithee moments (...yay?).
...and nobody had to be Mr. Pink.
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