DVD Review: YOUNG VIOLENT DANGEROUS
1976 was a good year for Di Leo. In addition to writing this film, he also directed the similarly youth oriented crime film, Rulers of the City. In Rulers, a pair of hoodlums take on the greater underworld dons in increasingly brazen ways. Their crime spree is very organized and serves as a means to an end. Young, Violent, Dangerous, on the other hand, is all about a bunch of bored young adults deciding to go on an apeshit crazy crime spree. While the pacing and general themes of youth in rebellion are very similar, the approach is completely different.
In 1975, Marino Girolami directed a Eurocrime film titled Violent Rome, which shares even more in common, in my opinion, with Young, Violent, Dangerous, than Rulers does. In Violent Rome, the protagonist is a police officer who doesn't play by the rules and solves crimes his own way, with or without the cooperation of his department. While the shoe may be on the other foot in Young, Violent, Dangerous, the attitudes of the main characters are very similar. They share a devil-may-care flippancy in the execution of their goals, in spite of the apparent chasm between their moral codes.
Ultimately, without the help of any Eurocrime references, Young, Violent, Dangerous succeeds on it's own merits and another crazy Italian crime film. At 96 minutes, the film is a little bit long for a show of this type, but the pacing that Guerrieri and Di Leo manage to maintain is quite impressive. The characters are all caricatures, but very entertaining ones, even if at times they drift into unpleasant misogyny, as these films are wont to do.
The performances from the leads, a trio of amoral hooligans played by Stefano Patrizi (the leader), Benjamin Lev (a wisecracking loudmouth), and Max Delys (as the straightest of the hoods), are impossibly broad, but a lot of fun to track. As their crimes become more and more bold and the thrills become harder to come by, they end up being tracked by the king of Eurocrime, Tomas Milian as a cop determined to take them down. When they take on a girlfriend as an accomplice following a string of increasingly violent robberies and murders, the chase is on, and it's pretty obvious that they aren't getting away.
There are a number of pretty stupendous set pieces in the film. Some incredible random violence on the street, an absurdly violent supermarket heist, and an impromptu dutch oven orgy all crank up the energy and make this a breezy hour and a half. Not having seen any of Guerrieri's other films, I'm hesitant to name him the auteur of this project, but he sure did something right. I love these films that Raro keeps turning out, and I hope they continue to build their Eurocrime catalog out here because they are a ton of fun.
I only wish Raro had paid as much attention to the production of this disc as they did to the selection and acquisition of the title. The main presentation issue with the disc is that, for some reason, it is shown in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 letterbox. Who does that? The image, for what it is, is pretty decent, but it is such a waste to release a non-anamorphic disc these days when you can't even purchase a 4:3 TV anymore. The audio tracks are fine, though. This film's main cast were all Italian, I believe, and so the likelihood is that even though the film is post-synced, that Italian was the language spoken on set, and that dub sounds fine. However, the English dub is interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, the names are all Anglicized, as well as many references in the script, also, the voice acting isn't awful and really embraces the go-for-broke nature of the production. I'd give it a listen.
Another huge demerit for this disc is the extra material. Raro Video have included a pretty decent interview/documentary on the production of the film, which is quite informative. However, on the other hand, as I mentioned with La Automobile, they've taken to including text notes in PDF form on the disc itself rather than including a paper booklet, presumably as a cost-saving device, which I can understand even though I don't like it. Unfortunately, the aforementioned text notes referred to on the cover are nowhere to be found on the disc at all. That's two strikes.
In spite of my misgivings about the quality of the disc, the quality of the film trumps nitpicking and I can still give this a recommendation, just don't expect a miracle.