Syndicate Sadists (1975)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Crime Thriller  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - Italy   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Syndicate Sadists is an interesting midlevel example of the Italian crime film. Vincenzo Mannino's script is fairly pro forma in terms of plotting (and rather reminiscent of A Fistful of Dollars), but it distinguishes itself with unique touches like having his crime boss character suffer from an affliction he is trying to hide from the other characters. Syndicate Sadists is also unusual in that it bypasses the usual tough-guy cop protagonist that these films usually focus on in favor of making Rambo a streetwise, anti-authority loner who is as likely to use his brains as a gun or his fists to outsmart the bad guys. Tomas Milian obviously appreciated getting such a unique character to play and goes to town with it, making him a character that is as sly and charming as he is deviously intelligent. Joseph Cotten also registers strongly as the tragic crime boss. The final surprise in this film is Umberto Lenzi's slick, confident direction; Euro-cult fans used to his sloppy, erratic horror film work will be surprised how efficient his direction is here. In the end, Syndicate Sadists is definitely a cult item for fans of Italian genre movies, but even they are likely to be surprised by the amount of care with which it was made.