Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

July 4, 2013

Movie Review: Shoot First, Die Later (1974, Blu-ray)

Raro Video has taken it upon themselves over the past few years to release numerous classic film works from writer/director Fernando Di Leo. There was the excellent release of Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man, a Blu-ray boxset with four of his finest films (Caliber 9, Rulers of the City, The Boss and The Italian Connection) and now the recently released Shoot First, Die Later in a Blu-ray special edition is finally available. If you’re itching for some no-nonsense, violent Polizia, Mr. Di Leo rarely disappoints.

Shoot First, Die Later centers around Domenico Malacarene (Luc Merenda, Torso) a not-so squeaky clean cop who lives slightly better than his fellow officers because he accepts money from the city's crime syndicate. Outside from a little corruption here and there, Domenico actually seems like a regular guy who likes to spend time with his girlfriend, Sandra (Delia Boccardo, Massacre in Rome). The only problem here is he gets way in over his head. His father also works in the police department but doesn't quite dabble in these illicit affairs.

The action is pretty tight here as we get generous doses of ultra-violence (though not as explicit as other Di Leo films). Viewers are also treated to cars chases, shoot-outs and even a slobber-knocker of a fight with a drag queen. This is Italian polizia at its best folks. Not too many laughs here as the film is pretty serious but it's appropritate. Merenda is excellent and in all honesty looks like a mean version of Ashton Kutcher in his role. Ten times the actor, but the resemblance is uncanny to the That 70s Show star.

Raro Video has gone to great lengths to put forth a very nice looking transfer for this Blu-ray incarnation of the film. I noticed little wear on the element but was happy to see the colors pop the way they do for this 1974 production.

There are extra features on the disc - A fully illustrated booklet about the film and two very insightful documentaries, The Master of the Game (Il Padrone del Gioco) and The Second Round of the Game (La seconda mano del gioco). The Master of the Game has an interview with Di Leo where he opens up about has films and even his writing for other directors.The second documentary features some cast and crew from Shoot Now, Die Later that even include the star Luc Merenda. Both are in Italian language and carry English subtitles. The original trailer is also here to round out a very solid selection of supplements.

Shoot First, Die Later may be the grimmest polizia that I've seen in recent memory but it's still an entertaining ride that packs a wallop from the vicious opening sequence to it's jaw-dropping final scene. Recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment