Luc Merenda and James Mason star in Fernando di Leo's mob revenge thriller

‘Kidnap Syndicate’ – The business of crime on Amazon Prime and Fandor

Luc Merenda, the corrupt cop of Fernando di Leo’s Shoot First, Die Later, takes the lead again in di Leo’s Kidnap Syndicate (Italy, 1975) but this time he’s neither cop nor crook. Mario Colella is just a simple mechanic and working class single father who gets caught in the middle of mob business and corporate […]

Henry Silva and Woody Strode in Fernando di Leo's gangster classic

‘The Italian Connection’ – Mob schemes on Amazon Prime and Fandor

The Italian Connection (Italy, 1972), from Italy’s king of crime cinema Fernando di Leo, stars Mario Adani (the top dog thug of the Americano’s gang in di Leo’s earlier Caliber 9) as Luca, a remarkably affable and well-liked pimp whose popularity on the street makes the Milan boss nervous. So he frames Luca for a […]

Meiko Kaji stars in the Japanese women-in-prison series

‘Female Prisoner Scorpion’ Saga on Amazon Prime

The women in prison genre has never been so much fun as the Female Prisoner Scorpion series from Japan. Gonzo doesn’t begin to describe this mad mix of outrageous exploitation, flamboyant art movie, and energetic comic-book craziness. Meiko Kaji gives a near silent performance as Nami Matsushima, aka Scorpion, a woman framed for a crime […]

Luc Merenda stars in Fernando di Leo's crime drama from Italy

‘Shoot First, Die Later’ – Revenge of the corrupted on Amazon Prime

Shoot First, Die Later (Italy, 1974), directed by Italian gangster specialist Fernando di Leo, stars Luc Merenda as Domenico Malacarne, a hotshot cop on the Milan strike force. Young, good looking, and always at the center of big, splashy cases, Domenico is the department poster boy for police heroism and he kicks off the film […]

Sammo Hung directs and stars in this Hong Kong action drama

‘The Bodyguard’ – Hong Kong legend Sammo Hung returns on Netflix

The Bodyguard (2016), originally titled My Beloved Bodyguard, is directed by Hong Kong martial arts legend Sammo Hung, who also stars as a retired special agent in a small town who is roused back into action when mobsters threaten the life of a young girl (Jacqueline Chan). He’s become a kind of adopted grandad; her […]

Robert Hoffmann stars in Wake Up and Kill, directed by Carlo Lizzani

‘Wake Up and Kill’ – Italian crime spree on Amazon Prime

Wake Up and Kill (Italy, 1966), aka Wake Up and Die, turns the story of real-life jewel thief Luciano Lutring, a criminal celebrity whose brazen exploits became headline fodder, into a fast-paced crime thriller that straddles the high life of the rich and beautiful and the dregs of the underworld. Luciano, as played by Robert […]

Marci Miller and Manu Bennett in 'Death Race 2050,' directed by G.J. Echternkamp and produced by Roger Corman

Roger Corman’s ‘Death Race 2050’ on Netflix and Blu-ray/DVD

Death Race 2050 (2016) – After Paul W.S. Anderson’s humorless Death Race, his 2008 remake/reworking of the Roger Corman-produced cult movie Death Race 2000 (1975), there’s something oddly satisfying in getting a genuine remake produced by Corman himself in the impudent spirit of the original. Death Race 2050 is a modern B movie, produced directly […]

Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones

All four ‘Indiana Jones’ films on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Harrison Ford, fresh from the first two Star Wars films, stepped into the battered fedora and leather jacket of the archeologist adventurer Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, PG, renamed Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark for home video), the rip-roaring tribute to the cliffhanger adventures of the 1930s […]