Italian Connection / Hired to Kill / La mala ordina (1972)

Director: Fernando Di Leo.
Starring. Henry Silva,Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi, Mario Adorf , Luciana Paluzzi Italy. 1h 35m.

Following on from Caliber 9, De Leo hits back with another violent manhunt movie.

After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming syndicate boss Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, David (Silva) and Frank (Strodey) listen patiently while they are given clear instructions to travel to Italy, where they are to act as American as possible in order to gain the attention of their target, both men speak the language fluently and are more than capable of finding the man suspected of being responsible for the missing drugs and making him suffer. A local assistant, Eva will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite as useless as everyone suspects.

I killed enough people to fill a cemetery

Small time pimp and crazy headbutting tough guy Luca Canali (Adorf), seems pretty low key, not the shifty character you’d expect to accidentally lose such a precious cargo. The film partially opens with him spending a pleasant day with his “girlfriend” in the park then beating up two douchebags using Tekken 2 tactics. The “girlfriend” turns out to be his bottom bitch, his most profitable hooker who’s in love with him and has strange high strung delusions that she’s going to be a future wife, but Luca is a family man, his stunning ex and beautiful daughter get all his love and attention when his character totally changes when he’s with them. Soon the movie shifts from the two tough guys high tailing and it turns into the Luca show while he tries to keep ahead of all the mobsters who are now suddenly hot on his tail.

You little runt. You’re talking to Don Vito Tressoldi, and DON’T YOU FORGET IT! That name means something. What’s yours mean? NOTHING! Not even that stupid whore you’re married!

De Leo paints a pretty swinging city, there’s lots of drugs and girls with crazy wigs but the film doesn’t really indulge in these key factors too heavily, it’s all about men being tough. Silva and Strodey’s characters dominate the first act, shedding light on the seedy underground of Milan They hook up with the attractive Eva (Luciana Paluzzi) who gives them their first set of leads, while her character is pretty she doesn’t really do much and acts pretty shocked when bullets start to fly. They rough up local gangs and pick up as many party girls as possible, the one who grabs Silva’s eye happens to be really good friends with Luca who give him a heads up about the two Americans who are very interested in him and then the focus is straight on Luca again.

With the two hitmen in the background chasing girls and beating up small fry, Luca becomes out hero, we see a man who’s trying to please his ex, starting up lots of small crooked ventures and striving to prove his innocence. Muh of what he does is too little too late as tragedy follows him everywhere. One of the biggest compliments of this fast paced action romp is just how different the characters are but all remain total bad asses in their own right and are like human terminators and really hard to kill. The street smart, wit and comebacks are quick and brilliant right until a lethal cat and mouse climax in a car scrap-yard, a prime example of how down to earth and dirty the film gets.

Rating 8/10

RCalibro 9 (1972) , La Mala (1972), Golgo 13 (198?), Il Boss / The Boss (1973),
L – Politicization
5s – Henry Silva

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