Frank and Tony/Review

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< Frank and Tony

A string of mob murders in Milan has caused a legendary mafia hitman named Frank Diomede (Lee Van Cleef) to arrive in town (Or at least that's why I think he's there. There were no english subtitles to translate the heading of the Italian newspaper) One guy that's jazzed about Frank's arrival is Tony Breda (Tony Lo Bianco) an obsessive misfit who idolizes mafia characters. It just so happens that Frank Diomede is #1 on Tony's fan list. While in town, Frank arranges himself to be arrested so he can have the alibi of being behind bars while he's able to put a hit on his target. But Tony (Not knowing of Frank's plan) tries to save Frank from being arrested. Instead, Tony gets sent to jail along with Frank. Things don't go according to plan as Frank's nemesis, Annunziata (A Roman Polanski look-alike played by Jean Rochefort) arranges to have Frank's lawyer killed and reveals the murder that Frank was responsible for. This results in an extended jail sentence for Frank. But you can rely on Tony to give Frank a morale boost. It's inevitable that Frank doesn't want anything to do with Tony, but Frank has gained Tony's respect for being trustworthy and for his heroics. Once Frank has recieved word that his brother has been killed by Annunziata, Tony gives Frank his word on help busting him out of jail for revenge.

Released in the same year as the memorable spaghetti western, My Name is Nobody, it's a little coincidental that the story elements are a bit similar with Tony playing the Terence Hill character and Van Cleef playing the Henry Fonda character (Van Cleef is even wearing the same outfit that Fonda wears at the very end!) Irony aside, Frank and Tony aka Escape From Death Row aka Power Kill is a fun film. Beginning with the colorful, James Bond-esque opening credits to the sounds of the musical score by Riz Ortolani (Any spaghetti western fans should know by now that if you've got Van Cleef and Ortolani together, you're in for a good time) As for the cast, Van Cleef is in his essential mode as the no-nonsense asskicker, while Lo Bianco doesn't ham things up too much. Seriously, this role could have been handled in a much more annoying and irritating way, but Lo Bianco knew his limits (Thankfully) and prevented himself from ruining the film. And yes, the smokin' red hot Edwige Fenech is on board playing Tony's girlfriend, but she's only in 4 tiny scenes. But don't try to fret too much because she gets naked in one of the scenes (Woo hoo!) Without a doubt, my favorite sequence of the entire movie is a lengthy, but damned entertaining, truck chase that has Frank and Tony who are not only running from the cops, but are running into various obstacles on the road. It's clearly one of the most thrilling action moments in all of Poliziotteschi cinema. A reminder, don't go into this one thinking it's a typically hard-boiled action fest. If you think of it as one of the forefathers of the "Buddy-Action" movies, you'll be in fine company.

Reviewed by Laydback

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