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Review of 'Napoli...la camorra sfida, la città risponde' (1979) – Alfonso Brescia.

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  • Review of 'Napoli...la camorra sfida, la città risponde' (1979) – Alfonso Brescia.

    The capable, rather than ostentatiously gifted genre film-maker Alfonso Brescia's rough-hewn style aggressively compliments the bellicose, blood-squibbed savagery of the hard-boiled, revenge-fuelled poliziotesco, as his 'Napoli...la camorra sfida, la città risponde' demonstratively proves to be an eminently rewatchable, late 70s Eurocrime scorcher. Hard-working proletariat, deeply loving patriarch Don Francesco Gargiulo (Mario Merola) fatefully becomes the unfortunate victim of cruel professional racketeers, mercilessly headed by toxic alpha Thug Vito Santoro (Antonio Sabàto) in schlock impresario Brescia's engaging, and pleasingly dramatic 'Napoli... la camorra sfida, la città risponde'. The somewhat ineffectual commissario De Stefani is played by the suitably tepid Jeff Blynn, a bargain bin Maurizio Merli. In this instance the confounded cops take a back seat, since it is up to resolute businessman Gargiulo to courageously take up arms against the scum and villainy in Alfredo Brescia's bracingly zesty B-picture.

    While 'Napoli...la camorra sfida, la città risponde' noticeably lacks the delirious, hyperbolic brutality of a Lenzi, Martino or Massi, Brescia effectively generates some tangible tension, engendering great pathos over the increasingly precarious plight of the beleaguered, thug-tormented citizens of Naples, and excitingly orchestrating a cathartic, suitably bullet-shredded finale! Burly Mario Merola is always entertaining to watch, a fine, charismatic, hugely likeable actor, and a wonderful singer ta' boot! The atmospheric slow-build, and its lively roster of credible characters lends additional impact to the gloriously gonzo gun-battle at Napoli...la camorra sfida, la città risponde's exhilarating, dynamically-shot conclusion. Merola makes for a sympathetic, more nuanced revenge-seeking protagonist, but the true glory of Brescia's pleasingly rumbustious actioner is the beautiful historical city of Naples and the fabulously funky score by maestro Eduardo Alfieri. Merola fans might also care to note that the talented gentleman puts his legendary pipes to mellifluous use when he serenades his beloved wife!


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