Young, Violent, Dangerous DVD Review: A Healthy Dose of Italian Cheese

There’s nothing worse than a tale of good boys gone bad. Well, actually, there are: in the case of the 1976 Italian crime thriller Young, Violent, Dangerous, the movie itself is far worse than the message of uncertainty it was meant to deliver to begin with. No, I take that back — it’s clear from the get-go that Romolo Guerrieri’s exploitative tale of three fellers on a killing spree was most certainly not supposed to carry any sort of significance whatsoever. I’m fairly certain of that, at least. Nevertheless, the movie succeeds in what it sets out to do: live up to its title. And it does so mercilessly.

The story, written by the great Fernando Di Leo himself, opens with a concerned young woman (Eleonora Giorgi, also in Dario Argento’s Inferno, who is dubbed here by Pat Starke) informing a doubtful police commissioner (the great Tomas Milian, with an English voice courtesy Michael Forrest) that her boyfriend has made the mistake of agreeing to pull a hold-up with his two friends with toy guns. Indeed, her man Giovanni (Benjamin Lev) — or “Joe,” as he’s called in the English dub — has decided to join his longtime pal Mario/Paul (Stefano Patrizi) and their loudmouthed load of a lug Luigi/Louie (Max Delys) in committing a robbery.

But Paul and Louie aren’t packin’ toys: they’re using the real deal — something the police commissioner finds out the hard way when several of his men are murdered by the two hooligans, with Joe behind the wheel of their getaway car. Sadly, Joe just isn’t man enough to ditch his murderous colleagues — an act of loyalty that borders on a near-love obsession with Paul. After their first couple of murders are executed (no pun intended), the boys do a lot of evading of the seemingly-incompetent police.

Speaking of the coppers, their jurisdiction appears to extend throughout the whole damn country. Tomas Milian keeps popping up in the most remote of places to try and apprehend the fugitives, devoting the rest of his time to grilling or tapping Eleonora Giorgi’s calls. Eventually, after Paul, Joe, and Louie murder still more people, attend an orgy (!) with some other acquaintances, and kill still more people — including the ones the were supposed to be working for in the first place — they pick up Joe’s girlfriend and take her along for the ride(s).

Will Joe finally come to his senses and grow a pair? Will Tomas Milian’s character get a clue — or at least take off his sunglasses? And will Eleonora Giorgi wind up exposing her lovely, perky, nubile breasts to really justify one’s purchasing this cheesy, somewhat disorienting, and otherwise aggressive moving picture?

I’ll only answer the one that counts, kids: yes, she does. There, you have a reason to see it now.

Raro Video presents this previously unavailable drama on DVD for the first time in a non-anamorphic (really, in this day and age?) widescreen presentation with a fairly decent presentation and the option of viewing the film in either the original Italian or English-language tracks, with optional English subtitles available. Included with this guilty pleasure of absurdity is a mini-documentary entitled “Ragazzi Fuori,” which interviews director Romolo Guerrieri (who is the uncle of legendary Italian exploitation director Enzo G. Castellari); a director filmography and biography, and the promise of a PDF file on the disc “containing critical analysis of the film.” Note how I say “promise” — such a file is nowhere to be found.

Oh, well, it’s still deranged, wacky fun for the whole family as only the Italians can whip up.

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Luigi Bastardo

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