Contraband/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Contraband
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Luca Di Angelo (Italian superstar Fabio Testi) and his crew are in the middle of bringing a shipment of cigarettes into Naples Italy when suddenly the Naples Polizia show up unexpectedly and begin to chase Luca and his crew down in a high speed motorboat chase. Luca and his older brother Mickey (Enrico Maisto) radio the other boats and tell them to split up and take off in different directions. Luca and Mickey decide to detonate a decoy boat to get the police off their backs long enough for them to escape. Someone has snitched on Luca's crew and theyve now lost a $2,000,000 shipment of swag. They are pissed!

Back home, Luca takes a shower and we meet his beautiful wife Adele (Ivana Monti). When Luca gets out of the shower, he proceeds to begin to try to make out with his wife and she keeps saying "No, No". This guys is MARRIED and his wife is pushing him away like hes an overzealous kid!! HAHA! Finally, after mauling her for a few minutes, Luca's wife gives in to him and they make out a little. Mickey calls up on the phone and talks to Luca and tells him to bring Adele and Luca's little son (this kid is hilarious) down to the horse track where they hang out with their horse trainer friend Capece. When Luca arrives at the track, he and Mickey try to figure out who set them up on their big job. We then see a rival mafia capo named Don Scherino (Ferdinando Murolo). Mickey is positive it was Scherino that let the cops know that they were out in the harbor. Luca seems to be unsure about this.

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That night, they goto a disco to meet with one of their partners in crime: Perlante (Saverio Marconi). Perlante has this very greasy, weaselly look to him and from the moment hes introduced you get the feeling hes not being very honest with Luca and Mickey. This disco club is playing some really zany music and after hearing it, I was humming the tune the rest of the day. Its some kind of Italian disco song about "looking in the mirror and going crazy". The disco club is filmed in a strobe light effect and we see this tall Amazonian black woman dancing. As she dances, we get flashes of tits and ass. Great stuff!! After the kinky strobelight dance sequence, Luca, Mickey and Perlante sit down to talk about the intercepted shipment. Mickey explains to Perlante that he is sure it was their rival Don Scherino who set them up. Perlante seems to go along with this and tells them he'll help them out.

As Luca and Mickey drive home from the club, we can see its nighttime. Suddenly, they get a call that someone has torched their horse farm, so automatically Mickey thinks Scherino is at it again. Mickey turns the car in reverse and guns it. Now, there is a serious lapse in time because in the next shot it is daytime! Did Mickey and Luca drive all night to get home or is this just a mistake? I dont know, but it was sure noticable!! As Mickey drives down the coast, he sees a roadblock up ahead. He stops and gets out to tell the cops hes in a hurry and give them some lame excuse, but before he can charm them into believing him, the two "cops" whip out a couple submachine guns and blast away at Luca, blowing him apart, spraying his bodily spaghetti sauce everywhere. Mickey tumbles down the side of the cliff over a bunch of junk lying on the side of the hill and falls into the ocean. Now, the two hitmen just leave and Luca is standing there to go free. Why didnt they kill him too?!

Since Mickey was such a loved guy, the five families of Naples have a funeral-gathering for him in the harbor on their speedboats while two detectives watch them from atop a hill. These mafia guys arent too smart because the cops know they were driving motorboats in the big bust a few days earlier and here they are, at a mobsters funeral standing in the boats they used in the shipment. After the funeral, Luca is seething about Mickeys death and he wants to get his revenge, but Perlante tells him to go away for awhile to cool off. Luca doesnt listen and the next move he makes is confronting Scherino at his home. Luca goes to a friend who meets him at a foggy oceanside building. The friend tells Luca he knows who is behind the death of Mickey and the big bust. As Luca leaves, a hitman stabs Luca's friend to death and Luca sees this and fights the guy. The hitman tries to stab Luca but Luca is quicker and tosses the guy into the ocean. That night, the dead body flies through Scherino's window (notice the Fulci Zombie look of the body) Luca holds a gun to Scherino's head and tells him he knows hes the one who had Mickey killed among other things, Luca doesnt see Scherino's bodyguard whos behind him, but he gets pistol whipped and hes now down for the count. Scherino tells him that he never liked Mickey or him, but that he would never kill anyone he respected.

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Adele finds Luca in his bed, rather bloody, but hes alive, at least Sherino didnt kill him. Luca recovers slowly but now he knows Scherino wasnt the one responsible. One thing that I didnt quite get throughout the film, is we see inserts of an old man who is watching TV, he watches Spaghetti Westerns and other things. This is Don Morrone (Guido Alberti) who is actually one of the biggest mafia chiefs. His part becomes clear towards the end of the film, but as I was watching the film, I had no idea who this old guy was, haha.

We meet the real man behind all the dirty dealings so far, a Frenchmen called Francois Jacios aka the Marsigilese (Marcel Bozzufi) who wants to get in on the Naples area to bring his heroin into Italy. We see just how ruthless Marsigilese is when a woman drug courier delivers some drugs to him.When she gets to the meeting, she has hidden the drugs in a dildo looking container in her panties. Masligiese takes the powder from her and gives it to his tester to see how pure it is. He then asks her how much she wants for the drugs and she says $50,000 is about fair. He then acts as if hes going to go along with her, but then backhands her hard! Then as if that wasnt enough, he picks up the tester's bunson burner and begins to burn her face off! This is pure Fulci style gore as her face begins to melt off and she screams in extreme pain.

When Masigliese gives Luca the choice to join him in the drug business, Luca brings the offer to his partners, and they all agree that they shouldnt get involved in the drug business. When Magilese hears the news, his next plan is to get rid of all the heads of the five families so he wont have to share his wealth. So in Godfather-style each head of the families is gunned down in various areas. One guy is shot right in church, another is offed in his home (with cannolis in hand). The last guy who is to be killed is Perlante. This sequence is hilarious because Perlante and his pal invite two hot babes (the black Amazonian chick is one) and this hot blonde girl. Perlantes friend is kinda shy, so he orders the girl to take his friends clothes off, all the while, the guy is freaking out like hes being told to eat worms or something. Hilarious! Suddenly, a huge explosion blasts out from Perlantes bedroom. We find out that Perlante was miracuolusly spared when his friend and the girlfriend who are having sex in his bed set off a bomb that was supposed to be for him. Perlante talks with polizia Capt. Tarantino (Vanantino Venantini) about how lucky he was that he didnt get killed. Now, is it just me or is this Perlante guy a little TOO lucky? Perlante invites Don Scherino and Luca to his home one night. Luca knows something isnt right, and we can sense that Perlante has something up his sleeve. When Perlante gets up, he opens up the door and Masigiese's thugs fly in and gun down Scherino. Luca jumps through the front window and barely gets away and runs out into the woods. Then, suddenly, as Perlante is speaking with one of Masigliese's hitmen, his throat gets destroyed Fulci style by one of Scherino's bullets. It seems Scherino wasnt quite dead yet, he still had one shot left in him. The thugs try to shoot at Luca as hes hiding, but they miss him. Some bullets come close though.

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Masiglieses last resort is to kidnap Adele and Luca's son. He calls Luca and he tells him if doesnt go along with his offer, Adele wont be feeling too good. He lets him hear Adele screaming. Masigliese's thug then rips Adeles clothes off and flips her over on her stomach. He begins to pull her legs apart. Luca just listens intently as his wife screams in intense pain. The thug then proceeds to break her legs apart like a wishbone. Very nasty stuff. Luca was so proud, he let his wifes body get split in half. I guess these guys arent hard up for women! Luca confronts another henchmen at a boat yard where he stabs the guy (more bloodletting) and tells him to say where Masigilese is. Well the guy is a real hardcase so Luca just throws him onto some planks and hes done.

In the big climactic shootout, all Don Morrone's thugs come out of the woodwork (including director Lucio Fulci as one Morrone's hitmen). Masigliese's men get shot in slow motion and their heads and stomachs are destroyed as blood flies everywhere. These are some really great FX!! Finally Luca corners Masigliese in the street and blasts away at him, hitting him several times. Then for some reason he shoots some trash a few times, then hits Masigilese with one more shot, shooting blood everywhere. Luca has finally got his revenge. Don Morrone helped Luca out big time and it just goes to show you, when youre part of the mafia, the best way to come out on top is to stay quiet and low key, then when its needed come out blasting!!

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Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. He is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life.
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