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Cynic, The Rat & The Fist, The

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    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Cynic, The Rat & The Fist, The



    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: December 5th, 2016.
    Director: Umberto Lenzi
    Cast: Maurizio Merli, Tomas Milian, John Saxon
    Year: 1977
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Made shortly the success of Rome Armed To The Teeth, Umberto Lenzi's The Cynic, The Rat And The Fist once again catches up with super cop Inspector Leonardo Tanzi (Mauricio Merli). He's recently put a notorious criminal named Luigi 'Chinaman' Maietto (Tomas Milian) behind bars and is attempting to live a calmer, quieter life. One night he comes home to find a calling card of sorts and before you know it, POW, he's been shot and left for dead.

    But he's not dead, because he's the toughest, handsomest sonofabitch around. The top cops decide to let the public believe he's been murdered, however, and then send him out of town for a while to lay low. Tanzi's not having any of it, however. He figures if his would be killer figures he really is six feet under then all the better to exact his revenge and take down the mobsters that are running rampant across the streets of Rome. Through Chinaman's connections to DiMaggio (John Saxon), Tanzi is able to start chasing him down and taking out a lot of their businesses along the way, including a dirty movie shoot complete with spotlights and naked ladies!

    Reportedly, Merli and Milian didn't get along so well on the set of this film and there are times where you have to wonder if that tension is seeping into what we see on the screen. Given that they are foes in the film, however, it works - you really get the impression that Tanzi and 'Chinaman' want to tear each other's throats out! It's also interesting to note that while Merli does reprise his role as Tanzi from the earlier Rome Armed To The Teeth, Milian plays a completely different character this time around. Throw John Saxon into the mix and it's hard to complain about the casting in the picture. Merli is in fine form, punching and shooting and bitchslapping his way around Italy without ever ruffling up his perfectly coiffed moustache. Milian gets to go over the top a bit here and chew a little bit of scenery, something he was always good at, while still playing the part with enough weight to make his character both interesting and intimidating. Saxon is just plain suave, also sporting a moustache, and about as cool as they come. If tough guys are your thing, this one should be just what the doctor ordered.

    The movie also serves as a great example of how good Lenzi was at directing action and crime films. The story by Sauro Scavolini and the screenplay from Ernesto Gastaldi give Lenzi ample opportunity to flex his directorial muscles and as such, the picture is tightly paced and consistently exciting. There's enough character development here to matter but those expecting heavy drama best look elsewhere. Car chases (right from the start, a genre cliché for sure but still awesome!), shoot outs, fisticuffs galore, exploding cop cars, occasionally naked damsels in distress - it's all here. Throw in plenty of great location photography that shows off the streets of Italy quite nicely. On top of that the film mixes in some surprisingly effective humor and utilizes a great score courtesy of Franco Micalizzi.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    88 Films presents The Cynic, The Rat & The Fist on Blu-ray in an 'HD Transfer from the Original Camera Negative' framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. There's good news and bad news here. The good news? The colors here look great and the image is pretty much spotless. The bad news? There's some moderate to heavy digital noise reduction at work here that results in some waxy looking skin tones and softens up an image that should be ripe with detail. While the fact that there's no visible print damage is a good thing, the fact that there's likewise no visible grain is not. There are some shots that show strong detail, others look soft, so it's a mixed bag, really. Black levels are decent though and any compression artifacts that creep into the image are minor. Given that the film's DVD release record isn't so hot this is a solid upgrade (especially compared to the bootleg 'Alfa Digital' DVD that came out years ago in the United States).

    Included on the disc are the 'Restored English Soundtrack' and 'Restored Italian soundtrack' both presented in LPCM Mono format, the Italian track with English subtitles (that feature some frequent 'spacingissues' that really should have been caught). The English track here does feature Saxon doing his own dubbing, so that gives it plenty of worth, but it's also fairly silly at times. The Italian track plays the film as a more serious affair. Both sound just fine, there are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the levels are nicely balanced. Obviously which version is preferable will come down to individual choice, so it's nice to have options here.

    Extras are comprised of three interviews, the first of which is entitled Mike Malloy On The Cynic (And Yes....) The Rat And The The Fist. This one is done with a good sense of humor as Malloy, the man who made the Eurocrime! documentary, talks up the three principal actors in the picture, makes some interesting observations about the picture's skewed geography and offers up some solid insight into what makes the movie as entertaining as it is. Before it's all over though, it starts to take itself less seriously and by the time it's done it is mostly played for laughs (thankfully it works though, try not to crack up at the end).

    Up next is The Cynic, The Rat And The Sadist: An Interview With Tomas Milian in which the late actor looks back on his work on this picture. Flanked by a chubby, fuzzy cat on his left side, Milian talks about playing a character named 'Rambo' before Stallone did, the difference between making art films and more commercial endeavors such as this, his thoughts on the feature at hand, his thoughts on the dubbing of his character in the film, his work on Syndicate Sadists and more. As always, Milian is an interesting subject, this interview is no exception to that rule.

    The third and final interview is Armed To The Teeth Again: An Interview With Umberto Lenzi. Here the director talks about following up Rome Armed To The Teeth with this film, working with Milian, Saxon and Merli (as well as some of the tensions that existed between Merli and Milain) on the picture and more.

    Aside from that we get menus and chapter selection but sadly, no trailer for the feature (which oddly enough was included on the U.S. bootleg DVD).

    The Final Word:

    The Cynic, The Rat & The Fist is pretty much an essential 'poliziotteschi' picture, offering up plenty of tough talking characters, some completely gratuitous nudity and loads of effective violence. Lenzi keeps the acting moving quickly and all three of the principal leads are in very fine form indeed. 88 Films' Blu-ray release offers up the picture uncut and in HD for the first time in a less than perfect transfer but with fine audio and some interesting extras.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






























    • Nabonga
      #1
      Nabonga
      Senior Member
      Nabonga commented
      Editing a comment
      Been curious about this title for some time. Haven't gotten around to buying it yet. Any decent Merli bitch slapping in it? I could watch him bitch slap mofos ALL day.

    • Ian Jane
      #2
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      Ian Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, Merli's awesome in it. He's not quite as slappy here as he is in other movies but he's still pretty slappy.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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