Combustible Celluloid
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With: Antonio Sabato, Philippe Leroy, Antonio Casagrande, Carla Romanelli, Alessandro Sperli, Franco Fantasia, Tano Cimarosa, Marisa Mell
Written by: Franco Enna, Umberto Lenzi, based on a story by Ombretta Lanza
Directed by: Umberto Lenzi
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Italian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 100
Date: 05/20/2014

Gang War in Milan (1973)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Sex vs. Drugs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Best known for his gory cult classic Cannibal Holocaust, director Umberto Lenzi's initial calling was making Eurocrime movies like Gang War in Milan (1973). Salvatore (Antonio Sabato) runs a profitable prostitution ring. As the movie begins, he shows up for his morning swim at a local health club and finds the body of his top girl in the pool. It turns out that a French drug lord Daverty (Philippe Leroy) wants to move into Milan, and wants to use Salvatore's girls to help spread his product. (Why Daverty chose to open negotiations by killing a hooker is not clear.).

In any case, the movie simply becomes a back-and-forth as both gangsters try to get back at one another, upping the stakes. Meanwhile, he relaxes in the arms of hottie Jasmina (Marisa Mell), although he should probably learn not to trust anyone. It's interesting that the movie more or less sides with Salvatore, but merely because it starts on him; in reality, he's no better than Daverty, and in another film, those men might be friends. The real thrill here is the visceral one in which the stakes are high, and these guys have enough money and power to make anything possible.

Raro Video presents Gang War in Milan on Blu-ray, transferred from a 35mm negative with fresh new subtitles, following up their first Lenzi release, the awful Nightmare City. As an extra, Eurocrime expert Mike Malloy appears in a humorous and informative featurette explaining the film's influence. There's also a liner notes booklet.

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