Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 6th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 16th, 1975
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Vincenzo Mannino
Cast: Tomas Milian, Joseph Cotten, Maria Fiore, Mario Piave, Luciano Catenacci, Guido Alberti, Femi Benussi, Silvano Tranquilli, Shirley Corrigan
DVD released: April 12th, 2005
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Media Blasters/Shriek Show
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A drifter named Rambo is forced to take the law into his own hands when his brother a cop is killed in the line of duty. The case that his brother was working on involved a kidnapped boy. When Rambo finds out where the boy is hidden. He pits two rivaling crime syndicates against hoping they will eliminate each other.
Syndicate Sadists reunites Umberto Lenzi with Tomas Milian who had previous worked together on Almost Human. The story for Syndicate Sadists borrows liberally from Sergio Leone’s a Fistful of Dollars even the film was apparently loosely inspired by the novel First Blood. Plot wise Syndicate Sadists doesn’t bring anything new to the table that hasn’t been done before in countless films. Where this film really excels is during its action sequences. The two standout action sequences are Rambo fitting two thugs who just interrupted his game of pool. The other memorable action sequence in this film finale in which Rambo takes out the bad guys one by one at a farm house. The scene ends with a fantastic motorcycle/car chase. Outside of the scene where Rambo’s girlfriend is viciously beaten the level of violence in this film is well below Umberto Lenzi’s usual standards.
Tomas Milan’s performance overshadows everything else in the film. The Rambo character is the direct opposite of the nasty SOB Tomas Milan played in Almost Human. Rambo only kills in the name of vengeance or if his life is in danger. Besides the a Fistful of Dollars comparisons one can also see a little bit of Death Wish’s Paul Kersey lurking inside of Rambo. The cast also features performances from Adolfo Lastretti (who is also known for looking like Dario Argento) and Luciano Pigozzi (the Italian Peter Lorre). In a limited role is Joseph Cotton (Citizen Kane, The Third Man) as Paternò one of the crime bosses in the film. Overall the acting is adequate with only Tomas Milan’s performance being the only one that stands out. Franco Micalizzi (Rome Armed to the Teeth, The Cynic, the Rat & the Fist) supplies a work man like score that effectively mimic’s Stelvio Cipriani style. Ultimately Syndicate Sadists is an entertaining revenge film with plenty of action.
Syndicate Sadists in presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The colors, flesh tones and black levels look strong throughout. Outside of some minor instances of print damage that crop up throughout the film this transfer looks very good overall.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are a few instances where the audio sounds muffled. Overall the audio is clear and at times robust.
Extras for this release include a photo gallery (32 images), an interview and an audio commentary with Umberto Lenzi who discuses talks about all of his crime films and the origins of Syndicate Sadists. Anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to Lenzi talk about his film is in for another treat with this release. One of the funniest bits on the audio commentary is when Lenzi talks about Tomas Milain’s obsession for wearing hats and how wearing a hat all the time can lead to hair loss. The remaining extras are trailers for other titles available on DVD from Media Blasters Shriek Show label. Overall Syndicate Sadists gets a first rate release from Media Blasters.