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Gang War in Milan 
Written by: on January 8th, 2006

Theatrical Release Date: Italy,1973
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Cast: Antonio Sabato, Phillipe Leroy, Antonio Casagrande, Carla Romanelli, Alessandro Sperli, Franco Fantasia, Tano Cimarosa, Marisa Mell

DVD released: 2005
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Dagored
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98


Synopsis: Toto Cangemi has worked himself up from being a useless punk with his friend Lino. They are now the bosses of a major prostitution racket and vegetable “wholesalers” in Milan. They become aware of the death of a number of their hookers and learn that another gang led by Frenchie is muscling in and selling drugs using the prostitutes. Frenchie puts the squeeze on by kidnapping the prostitutes and gives Toto an offer to join him for a low cut of the business or start a war. Toto takes on the war and Lino asks in retired gangster Billy Barone to carry out some “violent diplomacy”. As Toto fights, he falls for Jasmina and his friendship with Lino comes under stress. Can he win the war and keep his empire?

Milano Rovente is another assured Euro crime thriller from Lenzi. It was in fact his first go at the genre. Like his later efforts it is genuinely exciting, earnestly acted and frequently gruesome. In this film there is no real hero and the central character is selfish, shallow and a real bastard. His only real loyalty is to Lino but he even leaves him to be tortured and is willing to ignore him by running off with his money to Switzerland with Jasmina. When Toto gets his just desserts it is hard to feel anything other than he had it coming.

Like Almost Human and Violent Naples there are great car chases, a very macho amoral world and great tempo. Milano Rovente is not as good as the two other Lenzi films as it suffers from being overwritten at the end. As Toto’s world comes tumbling down the script puts too many plot points in – he not only loses Lino’s loyalty, he gets conned by Jasmina and stiffed by Barone. It is a little overstated and better writing would have concentrated on only one of these twists or have paced them better.

Still, Milano Rovente is a cracking film from Lenzi.

The DVD:

Urgghhhh. Dagored have previously ruined DVD presentations of Seven Deaths in a Cat’s Eye and Crimes of a Black Cat and they make it three strikes here. On the plus side, the film is presented in Widescreen and with English subs and Italian audio. On the negative side, the Widescreen is presented in 4:3, the print is poor and transferred appallingly with motion shake and failure to convert standards properly, and the sound has fallen off the back of a lorry. Even more negatives come from the dreadful menus, poorly transferred extras and the fact that you will need an eye test after squinting through this mess.

The cover art and inclusion of a poster are rather good but these don’t compensate for the awful presentation of the feature.

Unless you can’t live without a copy of this film then avoid this. I would even consider grey market copies as they would have higher standards than what is displayed here.

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