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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ricco the Mean Machine (1973) Action Gangster

Ricco the Mean Machine (1973) - Ricco (Christopher Mitchum) has spent two years in prison and now he is out and looking for the guys who killed his father. The opening scene is the Father being ambushed, he is a crime family head and kills a lot of bad guys before he is finished off. We never see who does it but get a great gory effect of a bullet in the head. In fact it is a point made when Ricco is talking about his father that the killer made it so he could not have an open casket funeral. Even though the guy was sitting bleeding out the killer made the point of ruining his face. Through the opening credits we see Ricco walking on the highway until the cops come by and stop him. They give him a ride and talk to him about what he was in prison for. He is too cool for school though and only half answers. What a mystery man, the long blond locks the fir rimmed coat this guy is a tough John Denver, I wonder if he can sing.
His sister and her husband spend their days having sex instead of serving the many cars that come to the gas station they own. When Ricco arrives they are so excited that they literally tackle him and shower him with kisses. So ridiculous and very quickly we have the story connecting the first scene to the theme of the film. Ricco's Dad (Luis Induni) has been killed and Ricco is going to get to the bottom of who did it. Then in a flashback we see how Ricco's father tried to toughen up Ricco by having his factory guys fight with the son he thinks is weak. We get to see that Ricco can really handle himself, with some amazing karate chopping action Ricco turns quickly into the Mean Machine of the title. His Mom is a women confined to a wheelchair, who pushes her son as he pusher her along to get revenge for her husband's death. She lets him know the disrespect of the way they killed him, that it was a family disrespect. He says he will do it but that it has to be on his own terms. He is a free spirit of the seventies and not an old time Mafia thug. That really is the kicker in this film, it is a Mafia movie, with the "Godfather" soundtrack but the protagonist is a hippie kind of guy, but not the peace out hippie you would first think of, no he is a bad ass mother fucker with a karate chop and a cool exterior.
The new leader of the family business is Don Vito (Arthur Kennedy), so he must be the guy who offed his father. They are not too quick to show this but the idea has to be floating in your head early on. His old friend and counterfeiter Guiseppe Calogero and his niece Scilla (Barbara Bouchet) helps him getting his revenge. Scilla is a hot little number who scams guys with the counterfeit cash can get him into Don Vito's estate but wants to help in return. Complicating matters is that Ricco's old flame Rosa (Melisa Longo) is now controlled by Don Vito because he likes beautiful things and boy is she a pleasure to look at.
Since this is a revenge movie I think it is safe to say the title character gets satisfaction, But before that there has to be a squeezing of Don Vito that will get him out in the open. He steals the cash from his collections with an excellent striptease by Scilla. I really have to hand it to this film for having such incredibly beautiful women in their films. Barbara Bouchet is a Czechoslovakian lovely who continues to work in film to this day. She has 88 titles to her resume and get bonus points for appearing as Kelinda in the Star Trek episode "By any Other Name" in 1966. Malisa Longo who still looks good after all these years is an Italian actress who gets her bonus points for appearing in "The way of the Dragon" with the incredible Bruce Lee. After a string of exploitation films and a group of horror low budget flicks she seems to have stopped working by 1997.
Ricco ends up captured by one of Don Vito's friends and is going to be killed but right as he is about to pull the trigger Scilla shoots at him. She although stunning to look at misses but it is enough of a surprise for Ricco to get the drop on the guy. Saved by his new girl he can continue his plan to get Vito. Don Vito has a great way of doing away with problems or those who fail him. In his factory he has a vat of acid. When Vito finds Rosa fucking his best assassin Don Vito tosses him in the vat and then gives the order to end her life the same way. So sad as the music plays and he walks away, she is screaming in the background, "I want to Live, Vito! Please, I want to live."
Since this is a revenge movie you can guess the final bit of the film, but be warned Vito is a mean man and to get Ricco to come out in the open he pulls some cruel crimes. Overall this film has a lot going for it. The fighting is horrible so that really has to take points of, but the plot is a simple revenge flick with a bit more depth. Ricco is an antihero and also reluctant before finally being moved into the Mean Machine of the title. The film gets to make up some points by having Christopher Mitchum, the son of the excellent Robert Mitchum as the protagonist.

Rating (5.5) 5.0 and up are recommended. In the Zombiegrrlz rating system Netflix it!

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