The Big Racket (1976)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Poliziotteschi  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Italian crime thrillers have a reputation for being tough, but The Big Racket truly lives up to that description. The clever script starts as a cat-and-mouse game between the policeman hero and the villains and segues into a high-stakes revenge thriller, building up in tension and brutality until it reaches its explosive finale. The end result could never be described as subtle, but it plays well thanks to solid, charismatic performances. Fabio Testi excels as the taciturn cop hero, Vincent Gardenia adds a bit of levity as raffish crook who assists him on the sly, and Renzo Palmer is heartbreaking as a well-meaning father driven to madness by the crime syndicate. Enzo Castellari directs the film with his trademark kinetic sense of style, keeping up a sharp pace that blends action with quieter, more atmospheric, moments and deploying bursts of slow motion at just the right time during action scenes. It all adds up to a grim but exciting action film; as a result, The Big Racket might be a little too tough for some viewers, but fans of the Italian crime genre will be very impressed.