Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Man Called Magnum (1977)

Luc Meranda stars as Inspector Mauri a cop transferred from Milan to Naples to fight a growing crime war between the aging mafia and a fierce independent operator. His only clues are strange tip offs in the form of child like drawings. Like most crime film's of this era elements of Dirty Harry are explored, however like other more obvious entries A Man Called Magnum trims away the stereotypes and cuts straight to the chase, the actual meat of the story. Which at it's essence is genuinely compelling.

Often with Italian crime films I find myself losing my way in the story because it doesn't engage me enough, between the two writers Dardano Sacchetti and Michele Massimo Tarantini a lot of genre favourites were penned from Massacre at dinosaur valley to the New York Ripper. This is no different with a tight well written script with interesting characters and good story plot. Albeit a little obvious at times, the drawings from the small girl for example are a less than believable plot line.

Italian comedy is throughout with most of the dated laughs coming from Mauri's new partner Sergeant Nicola Capece (Enzo Cannavele). The comedy has an interestingly culture specific twist in the constant banter between characters regarding North and South Italy.

Luc Meranda is one smooth cat. His character isn’t as jam packed with cliché lines as maybe Ray Lovelock and Maurizo Merli but “Get dressed now so I can undress you later, it’ll be more exciting” is a classy line if you ask me. Like his aforementioned counterparts he does have the uncanny ability to make women fall in love with him at the drop of a hat. Again the film shows a more refined story in that Mauri doesn’t spend 90% of his time with the ladies. He is a focused hard working cop with a few less than legal methods. The other performances are not to be overlooked one in particular from the young daughter of the crime boss, Francesca Guadagno who does a fantastic job.

The villains Mauri and his partner face are effectively menacing, if it’s shoot outs and car chases you are looking for it wont disappoint, there is plenty of action, including a great car chasing train scene ala French Connection.

Tarantini employs some interesting camera techniques during the car chases to set them apart from the norm.

Most reviews I have read online have been less than positive, most only giving credit to the soundtrack and the car chases. I may be in the minority but I liked this film, it was paced well and had interesting engaging characters. It’s nice to start a new blog with a positive review. Lets see how long that lasts.

No comments: