Milano Calibro 9 DVD Review

Did Ugo Piazza steal 300,000 dollars?  His former boss the Mikado thinks so and so do his thugs. They set about making his life uncomfortable by harassment, violence and constantly surveillance. They are trying to force him to give up the location of the money. Ugo is tough however and most of this is par for the criminal course. However when he has to make a tough decision,  he knows that things might get dangerous and he might have to fight back. Trouble is that is simpler said then done. It will mean bodies, blood, carnage and crime bosses out for revenge.

Italian Police films or poliziottesco film are a personal favourite of mine. They have a gritty, tough and grimy appearance that is both beautiful and truthful. They are also very violent in places and can be very uncomfortable to watch. Often the stories revolved around wronged criminals, violent revenge and deep set corruption.  They come from a time when Italy was in turmoil and crime was rife.  They reflect the disturb psyche of a nation coming to terms with post war sensibility’s. What had happened in essence was a vast divide between young and old, with traditions being challenged and society changing because of this. Youth audiences wanted films that expressed there frustrations and explored the simmering anger with unconventional heroes, brutal villains and uncaring police forces.

This film has much going for it, to start a great soundtrack provided by prog rockers Osanna. It sometimes sticks out a little sore but is great fun when set to action sequences. The set piece gun fight is fun and has real dynamic grace about it. The story is clever and worked out with care but ease of exposition and narrative fluidity. This film is also a stand out for the works of Fernando Di Leo, a notable director of this genre and in Italian cinema in general.Di Leo had a feel of the genres many conventions and understood what an audience wanted but made it within a very tight budget. He should be commended for bringing verisimilitude to a genre so much able to avoid it. Other notable films like The Big Racket or Kidnap syndicate are great, visceral pieces and if you like this are a must watch if you love crime as a genre or the Italian exploitation movement.

There is always a problem and with this it is a single but very overbearing problem. You (that is the audience of money paying punters) will find that unless you like police films from the 1970s or you like films that are unpolished then you might find it hard to consume.  A modern younger audience might find it hard to relate to the film or the contents. It is also very difficult to watch this if you are not used to the over done execution. The films work best as being seen as a developing series of social commentaries. This means that some of the bullet ballet stuff needs to be brushed over.

Blu-ray & DVD include commentaries, documentaries & trailers. All are great extras!

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