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Almost Human – Code Red (Blu-ray) 
Written by: on March 9th, 2018

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 8th, 1974
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Ernesto Gastaldi
Cast: Tomas Milian, Laura Belli, Henry Silva, Anita Strindberg, Ray Lovelock

BluRay Release Date: February 27th, 2018
Approximate running time: 90 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
BluRay Release: Code Red
Region Encoding: Region Free
Retail Price: $27.99

Synopsis: Giulio Sacchi is a petty thief, who is determined to make it rich at any costs. And things take a turn for the worse for him, when he panics during a bank robbery and kills a police officer. Not deterred by this setback, he comes up with a plan to kidnap Mary Lou Perrino, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. He is also known for his notorious temper and uncontrollable rage, that frequently gets him into trouble.

Inspector Walter Grandi is a tough as nails detective, who has been assigned to the Mary Lou Perrino kidnapping case. He is an equally determined man, who will bend the rules in order to serve justice. Will he be able to lay trap for Giulio and his coconspirators’ or will he put the kidnapped woman’s life in danger?

Almost Human was directed by Umberto Lenzi, who is most remembered for Cannibal Ferox, a notorious film that was banned in thirty-one countries. He was a versatile director, who worked in just about every genre. With the genre that he excelled the most in, being the Italian crime film genre.

With Almost Human, he creates a claustrophobic atmosphere that builds to a fever pitch. And there is an escalation with new act of violence, that culminates in this film’s final confrontation. This moment also serves as a release not only for the characters in the film but the audience as well.

Umberto Lenzi always makes good use of the widescreen frame and Almost Human is filled with interesting compositions and symbolic imagery. One shot in particular, stands out from the rest. It is during a scene where Giulio and his two accomplices have taken the occupants of a home hostage. And in this scene, they hang their hostages from a chandelier, before mowing them down with their machine guns.

The ever so reliable Ennio Morricone supplies, yet another remarkable score, that contains a few notes of what sounds strangely like the main theme from the Sergio Sollima film Revolver.

It is ultimately, this film’s two leads, Tomas Milian (The Big Gundown, Don’t Torture a Duckling) in the role of Giulio Sacchi and Henry Silva (The Manchurian Candidate, Cry of a Prostitute) in the role of Inspector Walter Grandi, that serve as this film’s anchor. The performances do a superb job driving home this film’s nasty tone.

Tomas Milian is one of the most celebrate character actors to ever work in Italy. And he has created some of the most memorable characters who are overflowing with over the top bravado. And it is because of this that he often lifts, average or lesser material and makes it near impossible to take look away. Giulio Sacchi is a character that Tomas Milian was born to play. And when watching his performance in Almost Human, one can see hints of some of his other heavies that he has played through the years.

Henry Silva is cast in a role that is polar opposite, to the killers and other sinister roles that he has become known for. His portrayal of Inspector Walter Grandi is arguably one of his strongest performances. He delivers a pitch perfect portrayal of obsessive cop, who will do just about anything to catch his man. His performance captures just the right amount of intensity, without ever teetering over the edge.

Overall Almost Human is a brutal film, that contains all of the moments of sleaze and visceral violence that has since become synonymous with the Italian crime film genre.

The BluRay:

Almost Human comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This source for this brand-new HD transfer is in great shape. Colors look accurate, details look crisp and black levels remain strong throughout. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with compression. And when compared to previous home video releases for this film, the transfer for this release is a substantial upgrade.

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian. The English language track is in very good shape. Dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and Ennio Morricone’s score sound’s appropriately robust. It should be noted that the Italian language track has few moments where the audio sounds distorted. Included with this release are two subtitle options, English SDH for the English language track and English subtitles for the Italian language track.

Extras for this release include, a reversible cover art, an interview with director Umberto Lenzi titled The Outlaw (29 minutes 1 second, in Italian with English subtitles), an archival interview with actor Tomas Milan titled Milan Unleashed (28 minutes 29 seconds, in English) and an archival featurette titled Like a Beast…Almost (35 minutes 32 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).

Topics discussed in the interview with Umberto Lenzi include, real life people / events that have inspired his crime films, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi / the screenplay, Tomas Milan and how he prepared for the character he portrayed in Almost Human, Ray Lovelock, information about other films that he made with Tomas Milan, the origins of Almost Human’s car chase scene, Henry Silva, cinematographer Federico Zanni, editor Eugenio Alabiso, Ennio Morricone and how critics reacted to his crime films.

Topics discussed in the interview with Tomas Milan include, background information about the Italian voice actor who dubbed that he used for the majority of his Italian films, Almost Human / his thoughts about his character, onset memories, Umberto Lenzi, his creative process, Ray Lovelock, Laura Belli, Henry Silva and the negative reaction that this film received from critics.

The extra titled Like a Beast…Almost, has comments from Umberto Lenzi, Ray Lovelock, Gino Santercole and Ernesto Gastaldi. And topics discussed in this extra include, Umberto Lenzi discusses his cinema influences and Ernesto Gastaldi discusses the screenplay. Other topics include, the cast, onset memories and their thoughts about the film.

Other extras include, a brand-new HD scan of the U.S. theatrical release version of this film, under the title Almost Human (92 minutes 4 seconds, DTS-HD mono English).

Rounding out the extras are trailers for the Italian theatrical trailer for Almost Human, the U.S. theatrical trailer for Almost Human (under the title The Death Dealer), The Violent Professionals, The Last Hunter, Ironmaster and Seven Blood-Stained Orchids. Overall Almost Human gets an exceptional release from Code Red, highly recommended.

U.S. theatrical release version

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