Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Oliver Reed, Fabio Testi, Paola Pitagora, Agostina Belli, Frederic de Pasquale
Director: Sergio Sollima
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Kidnappers have snatched the wife of violent prison warden Oliver Reed and demand the release of inmate Fabio Testi as ransom. But when the warden allows his prisoner to escape, the two become trapped in a deadly conspirac... more »
Ollie goes over the top
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 12/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sergio Sollima's 1975 crime thriller "Revolver," also known by its U.S. title "Blood in the Streets," stars the immensely watchable Oliver Reed and Italian low budget film veteran Fabio Testi. "Revolver" is an entry in the somewhat obscure Italian crime drama genre. Just as many Italian directors--including the likes of Lucio Fulci and Umberto Lenzi--threw their hats into the cannibal and zombie genres, they jumped equally fast at the opportunity to make a movie about cops on the edge moving in a corrupt world filled with conspiracies, car chases and crashes, and bloody shootouts. Fulci's "Contraband," in some respects, falls under this rubric. Lenzi made a bunch of these potboilers, including "Violent Protection" and "Tough Cop," among others. I can't wait to see more of these films, but it appears the DVD revolution has been slow to recognize these low budget epics. It's surprising in a way that most of the gore drenched Italian flicks receive special edition treatment from companies like Anchor Bay and Blue Underground while these gritty urban thrillers lie dissolving in a vault somewhere. Until the day I see a boxed set of these movies sitting on a store shelf, I shall have to watch the few I can get my hands on. And that translates into Sollima's "Revolver."
It's a good movie albeit slightly confusing as the action progresses. Sollima starts us out with the assassination of a high-level oil executive and a seemingly unrelated bank robbery that results in the death of Milo Ruiz's (Fabio Testi) partner. Ruiz heads off to prison for his crimes, a prison run by none other than Vito Cipriani (Oliver Reed), a no nonsense, profane former cop who is an even tougher warden. We learn what a tough guy Vito is when an inmate threatens to kill himself with a knife. While the prison staff cowers in fear outside the room, Cipriani wraps his coat around his arm and strolls right in to confront the criminal. Sadly, he talks the guy out of the knife without beating him to a bloody pulp. Vito's home life is a bit less tempestuous thanks to the calming influence of his pretty young wife Anna (Agostina Belli). But wouldn't you know it? The movie is just starting when someone phones Vito and announces that he kidnapped Anna. If Cipriani wants his wife back, he has to release Milo Ruiz from jail with no questions asked. This Vito does in a rather convoluted way, but he's right outside the prison in his car when Ruiz comes bouncing down the street. The warden essentially kidnaps his charge, figuring that he'll find out where his wife is if he keeps Milo in sight.
The two don't like each other at first. Cipriani doesn't believe Ruiz when he says he has no idea why someone would stage a kidnapping to spring lowly old him from the stir. Milo disapproves of Vito's foul language and tendency to mete out a beating whenever he feels like it, usually to Milo. But something happens as the facts behind Anna Cipriani's abduction come to the fore: Milo Ruiz begins to admire Vito's determination to find his wife, and he soon pledges to do whatever is necessary to track down the men responsible. What follows are several dangerous situations, including a daring attempt to cross the border into France, a shootout in the street that leaves several people dead, and the duplicity of Ruiz's musician friend Al Niko (Daniel Beretta). As Milo and Vito come closer and closer to the men responsible for taking Anna away, the plot becomes even more byzantine. We learn about some huge government conspiracy linking the assassination of the oil minister and Ruiz's robbery, and we also learn that these guys will stop at nothing to protect their interests. They eventually present Vito Cipriani with a painful ultimatum that will free his wife if he performs an assassination of his own. The warden's final choice is a real surprise and definitely something different than what we usually see in a Hollywood film.
One thing I disliked about "Revolver" was the convoluted plot. Every ten minutes or so I kept having to ask myself exactly what was going on. The whole story seemed unnecessarily complex considering how easy it would have been for the conspirators to simply knock off Milo Ruiz in his jail cell. All we hear about in the latter part of the film is how powerful and wide ranging this cabal is, how governments and police agencies are members, yet we should believe that they can't pay a lowly inmate to hit someone? A further problem with the film involves the bloodlessness of the whole affair. A couple of quick shootouts and some beatings are always fun, but why the filmmakers stopped at a couple when they could have put in a dozen or more is beyond me. Fortunately, both lead actors do a good job with their roles. Especially Reed, who stomps through each scene like an angry 400-pound gorilla. He pummels people, he threatens people, and he swears at people every chance he gets. Throw in an interesting prog rock score by Ennio Morricone, and "Revolver" is a nice way to spend a couple of hours.
Supplements on the disc include two trailers for the film, radio spots, an easter egg, stills, cast biographies, and two interviews with Sollima and Testi. Both director and actor spend an inordinate amount of time describing the interesting experience of working with Oliver Reed, an actor known for his rages and his alcoholism. Testi claims that Reed once ate broken light bulbs during a drunken binge, and Sollima claims he shot all of the actor's scenes in the morning before drink turned him into a raging bully. Give "Revolver" a shot if anything above sounds remotely interesting to you.
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 12/12/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Revolver aka Blood in the Streets aka In the Name of Love is a disappointingly bland and overlong Sergio Sollima cop thriller with a miscast Oliver Reed complete with bad American accent (despite playing an Italian prison warden!) and Fabio Testi only marginally less wooden and ineffectual than usual caught up in a political assassination and kidnapping. Nothing out of the ordinary with some absurd plotting (a politician faced with death threats walking casually through the Place Vendome just so he can get killed, a ludicrous jailbreak from a prison with only rotten wood over the shower windows), the last reel is fairly good when the politics briefly kicks in and the movie refuses to go for the soft and easy ending, but it's outstayed its welcome by then.
A decent extras package includes a featurette with Testi and Sollima plus trailer and stills gallery, although the 1.85:1 transfer is grainy in places."
Sollima Scores Another Hit(Six of them actually)
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 07/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Who's that mean brute slapping Fabio Testi around? It's Oliver Reed! Yes, Reed plays a prison warden who's wife(one gorgeous woman by the way) is kidnapped by some schmucks who demand that Reed release Testi from his prison. Reed arranges Testi's escape only to find that getting his wife back isn't so easy. He finds himself getting deeper and deeper in a conspiracy while Testi tags along. Reed and Testi eventually have to rely on one another in order to get to the bottom of the deep bucket of clams.
This is another well done and entertaining crime drama from Sergio Sollima. Like his film, Violent City, he chooses not to take the cliched, nicely wrapped ending that a Hollywood action film would have done. There isn't really a "twist", but it does end up in a place you wouldn't have really expected, and it's rather grim.
Fabio Testi has never been a terrific actor, but he's always fun to watch, and actually turns in a better than average(for him)performance here. Oliver Reed is Oliver Reed. How can the guy not be cool?
Like many Blue Underground releases, this one includes a 14 minute documentary featuring interviews with Sollima and Testi.
Definitely recommended for those who like Italian crime cinema, and also for those who enjoy a little something different thrown into an fairly common told story."
Political thriller not a crime movie
Michael P. Dobey | colorado springs | 09/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I got this movie based on some of the reviews on this site. And they were right this is a fine movie. I strongly disagree that oliver reed was miscast in his role as the warden. Oliver reed does a great job and fabio testi is at his very best here. I think alot of people were disapointed with this movie because they expected a crime thriller like the many great italian movies of that period. If you look at the cover which is misleading that is what you would expect a rapid fire gunfest with a straight forward plot. But this is really a political thriller with only one real shoot out. I had just watched Unsuspected death of a minor by sergio martino ( a region 2 dvd) which is a straight cop flick and that's what most people who buy this probably want. This is more in line with the american made conspiracy movies of the same decade. If you go into this movie with that knowledge then you will enjoy this movie and it's fine acting. Blue underground must once again be thanked for providing us with a fine print. Most companies give us shoddy prints of older movies but blue underground cleans them up."