99 and 44/100 Percent Dead (1974)

Genres - Action, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Gangster Film  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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This could very well be the most offbeat gangster movie ever made. In fact, 99 and 44/100 Percent Dead doesn't really feel like a gangster flick -- it's more a deconstruction of the form. Robert Dillon's script mixes comic-book violence, tough guy archetypes and a hefty dose of eccentric humor into a distinctly post-modern take on the genre. The cast mostly plays it straight, with Richard Harris and Chuck Connors giving amusingly deadpan turns as mortal enemies in the film's surreal crime-world. However, Bradford Dillman has a blast camping it up as a crime boss with a childlike manner (and pattern of speech). Finally, John Frankenheimer films it all in a stylish manner, delivering the action with verve and handling the dialogue in a manner that is conscious of the humor without ever getting too self-aware. That said, potential viewers should note that 99 and 44/100 Percent Dead is not for all viewers -- though it has plenty of action, the film is strange enough that it will turn off the average viewer and its deadpan weirdness won't appeal to every stripe of cult movie fan. Still, those who can lock into the film's funhouse-mirror take on the gangster genre will find 99 and 44/100 Percent Dead to be one of a kind.