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Il Grande Racket

The Big Racket

Italy 1976
produced by
Galliano Juso for Cinemaster
directed by Enzo G. Castellari
starring Fabio Testi, Vincent Gardenia, Renzo Palmer, Orso Maria Guerrini, Glauco Onorato, Sal Borgese, Romano Puppo, Antonio Marsina, Daniele Dublino, Ruggero Diella, Massimo Vanni, Salvatore Billa, Roberto Dell'Acqua, John Loffredo (= Joshua Sinclair), Stefania Girolami Goodwin, Marcello Michaelangeli, Edy Biagetti, Anna Bellini, Giovanni Bonadonna, Franco Borelli, Pietro Ceccarelli, Domenico Cianfriglia, Giovanni Cianfriglia, Dino Mattielli, Carmelo Reale, Angelo Ragusa, Enzo G. Castellari, Fulvio Mingozzi
story by Massimo De Rita, screenplay by Massimo De Rita, Enzo G. Castellari, Angelino Maiuri, music by Guido De Angelis, Maurizio De Angelis

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A mob muscles in on collecting protection money in the busy streets of Rome, and it falls upon sergeant Nico Palmieri (Fabio Testi) to bust them ... but unfortunately, he doesn't get anywhere far because the mob was quite successful in intimidating its customers, and furthermore the mob has a brilliant legal aide, Giovanni Giuni (Antonio Marsina), who gets its members free in no time everytime they are arrested.

Plus, the mobsters definitely know what they are doing, once Palmieri tries to follow them they manage to intercept him and brutally beat him up, when restaurant owner Luigi (Renzo Palmer) squeals to the cops, they have his daughter (Stefania Girolami Goodwin) gangraped - Luigi later avenges himself by shooting two of the rapists in cold blood and is arrested for it -, when the cops lay an ambush they are lured into a trap, when championship marksman Rossetti (Orso Maria Guerrini) helps the cops out they rape his wife before his very eyes, then burn her, and when Palmieri plants two moles in their organisation, they have one (Ruggero Diella) killed by a lynchmob, the other, Pepe (Vincent Gardenia) arrested. And above all that, Palmieri's methods are so unpopular with his superiors that he gets fired ...

Out of a job, Palmieri has still not got to the end of the trail: He breaks Luigi, Pepe and Doringo (Romano Puppo), who was muscled out of the protection racket by the mob, free from jail and hooks up with Rossetti and Mazzarelli (Glauco Onorato), a nightclub owner who was cheated and beaten up by the mob, organizes them as a team to fight the mob (since each of them has personal motives to avenge himself) and lays an ambush in  awarehouse where the mob has a big meeting ...

It all culminates in a giant shoot-out during which the real boss of the mob is revealed to be attorney Giovanni Giuni himself, and that ultimately only Palmieri survives ...

 

The film might be a bit reactionary in message (if you see it as a message film that is), but more than makes up for it with a series of beautifully staged action setpieces and violent shoot-outs. The only thing the film is really missing is a strong lead. Now Fabio Testi is not necessarily a bad actor, but he pales in comparison to Franco Nero, who could really carry similar films like Castellari's earlier, superior Street Law.

Still, if you are an action fan, this film is definitely worth a look.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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