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Liberi armati pericolosi (Young, Violent, Dangerous) (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Amoral, violent and a crime action thriller with a high body count! “Romolo Guerrier’s “Liberi armati pericolosi” (Young, Violent, Dangerous) is ’70s Italian crime cinema that incorporate pointless crimes, car chases, sleazy prostitutes, blood thirsty characters and machine guns!

Images courtesy of ©RAROVIDEO 2012. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: Liberi armati pericolosi (Young, Violent, Dangerous)

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 1976

DURATION: 96 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: B&W, 1:85:1, 4:3 Letterboxed, Italian and English, Dolby Digital Mono 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: RaroVideo

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: February 28, 2012

Directed by Romolo Guerrieri

Based on the novel by Giorgio Scerbanenco

Story by Fernando Di Leo

Screenplay by Fernando Di Leo, Nico Ducci

Produced by Ermanno Curti, Marcello Partini

Executive Producer: Armando Novelli

Music by Enrico Pieranunzi, Gianfranco Plenizo

Cinematography by Erico Menczer

Edited by Antonio Siciliano

Production Design by Francesco Cuppini

Costume Design by Giulia Mafai

Starring:

Eleonora Giorgi as Lea

Tomas Milian as Commissario

Stefano Patrizi as Mario Farra

Benjamin ev as Giovanni Etrusco

Max Delys as Luigi “Luis” Morandi

Venantino Venantini as Sign. Morandi

Diego Abatantuono as Lucio

Paul, Joe and Louie are three young men from good families who decide to go on a bloodthirsty and pointless crime spree, much to the dismay of paul’s girlfriend (Eleonora Giorgi) and the local police commissioner (Tomas Milian). the group starts by robbing a gas station where paul guns down three innocent bystanders. When they later decide to rob a bank and a grocery store, paul ends up killing more people. It isn’t long before the entire police force is looking for the three criminals, who pick up the girl and hightail it to the Swiss border, killing everyone in their path.

In the late ’60s through the 1970′s, during and after the Vietnam War and a time where political corruption and crime were hot topics.  Emerging from cinema and also low-budget indie films were films that featured people going against the establishment using violent means.

Some films had a message such as the Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 film “If…” and Peter Watkins 1971 film “Punishment Park” to films that were meant to be absurd such as the Bertrand Blier 1974 French dark comedy “Going Places” (Les Vasiseuses) but there was no doubt a flood of films that tried to be absurd and violent but ultimately kitschy and became a mainstay of B-movie cinema not just in America but also in other countries.

In Italy, Romolo Guerrieri was a filmmaker known for spaghetti westerns such as “$10,000 for a massacre” (1967) and mystery films such as “A Detective” (1969) but in 1976, Guerreri had the opportunity to direct a violent Eurocrime film based on a novel by popular writer Giorgio Scerbanenco (“Caliber 9″, “The Italian Connection”, “Naked Violence”) and feature a screenplay by well-known screenwriter/director Fernando Di Leo (“Caliber 9″, “Naked Violence”, “The Italian Connection”) and Nico Ducci (“Keoma”, “The Master Touch”).

The film “Liberti armati pericolosi” (which translates to “Armed, Dangerous and Free” but known as “Young, Violent, Dangerous) would star renown Italian actor Tomas Milian (“Amisad”, “Traffic”, “Fools Rush In”), Stefano Patrizi (“Conversation Piece”, “Murder Syndrome”) and actress Eleonora Giorgi (“Inferno”, “Velvet Hands”, “To Forget Venice”).

The film begins with Lea (played by Eleonora Giorgi) going to the police and telling Commissario (played by Tomas Milian) that she is afraid for her boyfriend Luigi “Luis” Morandi (played by Max Delys).  She tells the Commissario that he hangs out with a bad group of  people, Mario “Blondie” Farra (played by Stefano Patrizi) and Giovanni Trusco (played by Benjamin Lev).   Blondie gives the orders and they plan to rob a gas station.

At first the Commissario doesn’t believe her but as a precaution, he sets up a few undercover police officers at the gas station to catch them if they do commit the burglary.  The Italian police also visit the family of the three young men, their parents have no idea where there children are.

As for the three young men, Luis is the driver and is the person that tries to talk his friends out of doing anything criminal, but Blondie calls the shots and Giovanni, he’s more like the laughing hyena who can’t wait to get into trouble.

When the group arrives at the gas station, police are ready to nab them.  But to their surprise, Blondie and Giovanni shoot down the gas attendant and the police officers with no remorse and the three escape.

Luis can’t believe what his friends have done.  What was meant to be a burglary, has now become multiple murders.  But Blondie and Giovanni are loving every minute of it and the next place they decide to hit is a bank.

The three men end up killing the bank manager and stealing a large amount of the bank and as they make their escape, both Blondie and Giovanni are upset that no cops are chasing them down.  So, the group drive by a market and start throwing the money out to anyone they see.

With multiple murders, now the Commissario knows he must catch them before anyone is harmed.  As he meets with the parents of the young men, he realizes that the parents have no communication with their children.  Especially one who cares more about being wealthy than caring for his child.  This disgusts the Commissario who tells the parent that he wishes that bad parents should take responsibility for the actions of their children and wishes they could be charged as well.

As the three young men are now wanted by the police for their crimes and will be treated as armed and dangerous, Blondie and the group continue to escalate their crimes as well as the number of murders they commit.  Will the Commissario be able to stop them?

 

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Liberi armati pericolosi” is presented in 1:85:1, color and in Digital Mono 2.0 Italian and English with optional English subtitles.

The following DVD features a new digitally restored transfer from the original 35mm negative print. While the picture quality is pretty good considering it’s a 36-year-old film.  I didn’t notice any major problems with the video nor does it look its age.

Audio was clear and I detected no hiss, crackle or any audio problems.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Liberi armati pericolosi (Young, Violent, Dangerous)” comes with the following special features:

  • Documentary Ragazzi fuori - (16:51) Filmmaker Romolo Guerrieri talks about his career, “La Visita” and today’s cinema.
  • Director’s Biography - Text-based biography for director Romolo Guerrieri
  • Director’s Filmography  – Text-based filmography

 

Amoral, violent and a crime action thriller with a high body count! “Romolo Guerrier’s “Liberi armati pericolosi” (Young, Violent, Dangerous) is ’70s Italian crime cinema that has everything that one expects from a crime action film from car chases, sleazy prostitutes, blood thirsty characters and machine guns!

“Liberi armati pericolosi” is a Eurocrime film that featured the banal pointless crime sprees that were common-place in ’70s films.  One can consider it your typical juvenile delinquent film with a high body count and unlike other films that have a reason of  why the violence is committed, this film doesn’t have an answer.

May it be bad parenting or wealthy kids wanting attention, whatever the reason…these young men steal and kill…and it’s not like they need the money.  It’s more of craving attention and thus, “”Liberi armati pericolosi” features a rather simplistic storyline, but what separates this film from kitschy B crime action films is how far these young men will go and the situations that take place.

Typically these films are dark, violent and depressing but the three characters are rather interesting.  Luis is constantly scared and doesn’t want to be involved (and even more afraid that Blondie may get his girlfriend Lea involved), Giovanni is a psychopath who just keeps laughing at all the violence they create and Mario is a man with an emotionless experience.  He does things because wants to and there is no explanation of why.

I have to admit that at first, I was expecting to see actor Tomas Milian playing a Dirty Harry-esque police commissioner wanting to take down these young men who killed his fellow officers and innocent civilians, but he’s more of cat trying to catch the mouse.

While actor Stefano Patrizi is known for his role on Luchino Visconti’s 1973 film “Conversation Piece”, he’s just an amoral character taking on pointless crimes.

If anyone does shine in this entire film it’s actress Eleonora Giorgi.  A Playboy playmate and known for playing erotic roles, her role as Luis’ caring and emotional girlfriend Lea showcased her acting skill and also showing audiences that she was not just a an average pretty face.  In fact, her career would blossom even further in the ’80s as she would win various awards including a David di Donatello Award for “Best Actress” in “Borotalco of Carlo Verdone” (1982).

As for the DVD, fans of the film will definitely want to pick this version up for its new digital transfer from the original 35mm print.  There is a short featurette with director Romlo Guerrieri and there is mention of a PDF booklet (which many RaroVideo releases have), but the DVD I reviewed did not have one.  Also, there is an English dub included with this Italian film.  I prefer to stay away from English dubs, but for those who do not like to read subtitles, you do have the English dub track as an option.

“Liberi armati pericolosi” was an amoral, violent film that probably would not shock anyone today who are probably desensitized by pointless crime sprees, as one can easily play the role of these type of characters in a video game (“Grand Theft Auto” games come to mind), I can understand how Romolo Guerrieri had talked about the context of the film and how in today’s cinema, these shocking, violent films of back then are nothing today.

But as I tend to put myself in the shoes of someone living in that era and having watched my fair share of violent and amoral ’70s films, I will say that “Liberi armati pericolosi” is among the more entertaining crime action films.   I did enjoy it but for those seeking for answers, there was no real message delivered from the film of why these young men are committing pointless crimes, they just do it as a form of entertainment I suppose.

And as far as the police is concerned and how they were utilized in the film, today’s films would have the police taking out these criminals, but they were used more or less as chase scene fodder.   Even Tomas Milian’s role as police commissioner never really takes off.  For those who have seen Milian in other films, his presence is usually felt…in the case of “Liberi armati pericolosi”, I felt his character was just there to use the actor’s name and entice people to watch the film.

But still, there are some intriguing moments of the film that captured my attention and for a ’70s Italian action crime thriller, this film has it all…sleazy prostitutes, car chases, machine guns, bloodthirsty characters and even gratuitous sex nudity.

And if you are craving for more Italian crime cinema, I highly recommend checking out the “Fernando De Leo Crime Collection” from RaroVideo which will be available on Blu-ray and DVD and includes four films in the set: “Miano Calibro 9″ (1972), “The Italian Connection” (1972), “The Boss” (1973) and “Rulers of the City” (1976).  The set will be released on March 15, 2012.

Overall, “Liberi armati pericolosi” may not be for everyone, but if you do enjoy mindless, amoral ’70s violent crime action films that isn’t kitsch, then you’ll definitely want to give this film a chance!


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