Saturday, May 9, 2009

Almost Human

Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Ernesto Gastaldi
Release Year: 1974
Italian Title: Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare

Not nearly human, but delightfully beastly

A psychotic small-time criminal realizes that the everyday robberies, rapes and murders he commits aren’t making him all that much money, so he figures to hit it big time by kidnapping the daughter of a rich man. Piece of cake, or so it seems, but as to be expected, things don’t go down all that smoothly.

Even if you’re only just slightly interested in cult-cinema of the golden 60′s-70′s period, you know that whatever trend the Italian directors took on; they did it better. Whether it was horror, westerns or – as in this case – crime thriller, the Italians always surpassed the standards of any other major film-producing country and delivered politically incorrect but hugely entertaining & genre defining movies. One of the few (brilliant) directors active in all different fields was Umberto Lenzi, whose brutally entertaining ‘Almost Human’ is a truly terrific and ultra-violent classic.
Tomas Milian gives a formidable one man show as a small time crook, Giullio, who desperately wants to climb up Milan’s crime-ladder and therefore commits the vilest and most atrocious crimes, like relentlessly shooting people for the spare change in their pockets and buy cigarettes. Hell truly breaks loose when Giullio, along with two companions, kidnaps the daughter of a prominent businessman and demands a gigantic ransom. Many people, all innocent, get killed in order to still Giullio’s sadistic hunger for violence. Particularly one sequence is excruciatingly intense, namely when the kidnapped girl Mary Lou (Laura Belli) briefly escapes and hopes to hide herself in a secluded country mansion. Giullio & Co also invade the mansion and extensively torture, humiliate and terrorize all the inhabitants.Umberto Lenzi totally went berserk here and blends sick violence with ultra-sleazy footage, as Giullio even forces a male hostage to give oral sex. The kidnappers are hunted down by obsessive copper Walter Grandi Henry Silva), who totally lives up to the stereotype of 70′s cops. Inspector Grandi is rough, tough and actually prefers to personally execute the bad guys rather than to put them behind bars.

‘Almost Human’ is incredibly fast-paced, with super-exciting car chases and outrageous gunfights throughout the entire playtime. The script offers a lot of unexpected twists to keep you on the edge of your seat and Tomas Millian‘s hectic performance – his character is popped up on drugs most of the time – alone is enough to watch this masterpiece of 70′s exploitation cinema, featuring a mesmerizing rock-score by Ennio Morricone. A true must-see!

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