1971-1980CrimeEnzo G. CastellariHorrorItaly

Enzo G. Castellari – Il Grande Racket AKA The Big Racket (1976)



Nico is a police inspector who is battling against gangsters who are terrorising an Italian town and extorting money from its locals. No one dares to speak out against them except a local restaurant owner. After telling all his daughter is swiftly raped and the inspector taken off the case. He decides, however, to go it alone and enlists support from victims of the hoodlums.”

“While not the bloodiest film per-say, this is easily one of the most violent, as in most death/action vs. running time ratio of any crime movie I’ve seen in recent memory. On top of that, it’s got a good multilayered story of several men disenfranchised by a protection mob, who all team up to take out the trash in one massive vigilante-style raid. Most are very good characters too, especially Orso Maria Guerrini who goes from an average Joe skeetshooter to a silent assassin once the thugs rape and murder his wife. Renzo Palmer’s transition is a little less subtle, and his vengeful character gets a little irritating. Vincent Gardenia is good as a very suave pickpocket and wise-guy, while Testi is his usual pretty-boy self who of course looks so handsome that in some shots he looks more like an Anime cartoon character than an actual human.

Despite the bad profanity-censored English dubbing (which substitutes ‘basket’ for ‘bastard’, ‘dung’ for the S-word etc.), this is otherwise a solid film. Before John Woo, this was as stylish and as violent as action movies got. There’s at least 3 major shootouts, two of which are real standouts, and all of which have their fair share of amazing shots. For instance when Fabio Testi kills the thug who kills his partner – a slow motion shot of the thug flailing around in the foreground and Testi in the background shooting at him – you can see each exit wound corresponding to Testi’s gunfire. Another amazing shot is film from inside Testi’s car as it rolls down a hillside (complete with Testi inside trying to shield his eyes from the flying window-glass). Castellari demonstrates a solid eye for detail and is an expert at transitions – plenty of slow motion too. Big Racket also features some surprisingly good dialog in the case of most of the thug’s threats, and then again near the end when the evil crime boss rants and raves about how to run a protection mob (and then turns out to be a total coward when guns are pointed at him).



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