Cult 1973 crime thriller with plenty of style and substance!
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 03/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cult crime film, that's virtually unknown by many film fans, however this gritty 1973 crime thriller is still edgy and captivating viewing over thirty years later, and effectively captures the tense and often violent relations between the NYC detectives and their hoodlum prey. The term "seven ups" was actually coined in the late 1960's in relation to a special squad of detectives operating in New York City who were pursuing high profile felons convictable of prison terms of seven years or more.
Ex-NYC detective Sonny Grosso ( the real life "Cloudy" of "The French Connection" fame ) penned the story for "The Seven Ups" based upon some of his personal experiences and observations in the NYC police department. A steely and youthful Roy Scheider is the lead actor portraying uncompromising detective "Buddy Manucci". Scheider was at that time just breaking through to mainstream cinema, and had recently gained high praise from critics for his role as Gene Hackman's cop buddy in the sensational "The French Connection"...plus, Scheider would soon become a familiar face as "Chief Brody" in 1975's biggest blockbuster "Jaws". Fellow actor from "The French Connection", Tony Lo Bianco appears in "The Seven Ups" as an oily, two faced mob undertaker, manipulating both his criminal cohorts and his friend Buddy via the use of sensitive information on the mob's business dealings. The plot of the film primarily centres around the double crossing activities of Vito ( Lo Bianco ) as he uses his child hood friend Buddy ( Scheider ) to identify potential mob identities that Vito's crooked partners can kidnap and hold for an exhorbitant ransom. Both the cops and the mob are rattled as they struggle to identify the mole betraying the fingered mob bosses for hefty ransom's. Vito's kidnapping colleagues are played by swarthy Richard Lynch ( Starsky & Hutch, Vampire, Invasion USA ), and shifty Bill Hickman ( one of Hollywood's top stunt drivers ) and a key sequence of the film has the two merciless kidnappers flee a garage after a shooting to be pursued by Scheider in one of the finest car chases you will ever see on film !
( Forget all the nit-picking criticisms about which direction they are driving on various expressway's, and being on the wrong side of railings, and tour buses etc etc......the fact is that the car chase between the kidnappers in an Oldsmobile Delta 88 and Scheider pursuing in a Pontiac Ventura is brilliantly photographed, well paced, exciting and keep's your eyes glued to the screen ! )
The film was shot during an icy NYC winter, and the use of various bleak and mud spattered industrial estate's, warehouse's and rail freight yard locations around NYC, give the movie a really strong "street" feel that strongly parallels the grimy under belly of the various crooked characters peopling the cast. One can only hope that this under rated piece of classic 70's crime cinema eventually makes it to DVD !! Highly Recommended !!"
Low-key, realistic police drama
David Dearborn | Connecticut USA | 11/09/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It remains in the shadow of its famous predecessor, 'The French Connection,' but 'The Seven Ups' is required viewing if you're in the mood for a no-nonsense, unglorified NYC police story. There's an incredible end to the car chase, the film's trademark, but watch it for the straightforward acting, jolting plot twists, and unvarnished picture of workaday New York in the '70s. The music lends an eerie mood, and there's plenty of small touches of realism. My favorite is a grim view of a muddy New Jersey wasteland--trains of oblivious commuters roar by the cops and villains on foot. 'The Seven Ups' is a rare breed--it looks like it could have happened the way it was filmed. Unspectacular but rewarding."
New York Locations Galore
Michael McEwan | Yonkers, New York, USA | 04/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not a review, but a commentary on filming locations, all in New York, most in the Bronx. The funeral parlor scene (at Hoffman St & E184 St across from St Barnabas Hospital) features footage of the Third Ave El train tracks, demolished soon afterwards. The funeral procession follows along Pelham Pkwy past the White Plains Rd train station. Other Bronx landmarks seen are the Valentine Theater on Fordham Rd, the HighBridge (that supplied drinking water from upstate through the Old Croton Aqueduct over the Harlem River into Manhattan), the Arthur Ave Market, the Botanical Gardens Conservatory, and Tracy Towers on Mosholu Pkwy. The shootout at the end takes place on the Amtrak rails between Co-Op City and Pelham Bay Park. The car chase starts on Manhattan's West Side and (despite driving over the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey) ends with the crash on the Taconic Pkwy in Westchester County. Locations seem to have been chosen for their gritty looks, and the action is rife with geographic incongruity, with rather distant areas represented as being adjacent."
Grossly Underrated Cop Drama Follows French Connection
Michael Daly | Wakefield, MA USA | 03/26/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Seven-Ups is often thought of as the unofficial sequel to The French Connection. This is because it was produced (and directed) by Connection producer Phillip D'Antoni, features Connection alum Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Bill Hickman, and Benny Marino, and includes a Connection-esque car chase.The other relationship the film has to French Connection is that the story is by Salvatore "Sonny" Grosso, one of the real life Connection cops.The story is very good. The Seven-Ups are members of a special undercover investigative unit of the NYPD; the nickname comes from the seven years or up sentences the perps they collar usually get from the judge. Buddy (Scheider) is their leader, alongside Mingo, Borelli, and Ansel.The film establishes the Seven-Ups in a very entertaining opening where they bust an antique shop that's a stash house for counterfeit loot. Later, after the name of a Mob-connected bail bondsman turns up on a wiretap, Buddy debriefs his chief informant (Tony Lo Bianco) on several Mobsters being tailed.But there is more here than meets the eye. Two men posing as policemen (Bill Hickman and Richard Lynch) arrest Mob leader Max Kalish, drive him out of town, and knock him out. Then they collect a hefty ransom and dump Kalish, bound and gagged, in an empty lot.The two have also grabbed other "wiseguys," and next they grab Festa, the Mob-connected bail bondsman, but are seen by Buddy and Ansel. The Seven-Ups infiltrate Ansel as a limo driver at a funeral home where Kalish and others ponder what to do next. When one of the thugs' bodyguards notices a loose wire under Ansel's pantleg, the drivers are summoned inside - unknown to Buddy and Borelli, who've spilled coffee on their hands just as the drivers are summoned inside. Ansel is dragged to the basement and his cover blown. Thinking Ansel is part of the kidnap gang, Kalish stuffs him into a car trunk and has friend Carmine Cottello drive him to the location where a new ransom is supposed to be dropped. When Mingo, posing as a cab driver, sees that Ansel is not with the limos, Buddy and Borelli tail Cottello to a car wash, where the kidnap gang grabs his car and drives into a garage. There they force him to open the trunk, but he runs for it. They shoot him down and blast open the trunk, and are naturally shocked to find a now-dead cop inside. Then ensues a car chase that ranks with French Connection and D'Antoni's slick masterpiece Bullitt. Buddy chases the gunmen through New York City and into the countryside, but when the two cars fuse door to door, the gunmen run Buddy head-on into the back of a stalled 18-wheeler.Buddy and Borelli grab Kalish and learn of the other kidnappings. Kalish lists Mobsters who've been nabbed, and when Buddy checks his own list of suspects, he realizes to his fury that his informant is the one collecting the ransoms. The ending is very chilling when Buddy confronts his informant and leaves him pleading for his life at the prospect that Buddy will leak to the Mob of the man's role.Despite an excess of voice-looping, the film is very well done and well worth checking out."
VERY INTENSE POLICE DRAMA.......AWESOME!
Michael McEwan | 09/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST! STANDOUT PERFORMANCES BY ROY SCHEIDER AS A "ONE BAD DUDE" NYPD DETECTIVE, TONY LO BIANCO AS A TWO TIMING, SMALL TIME HOOD,RICHARD LYNCH AS A PSYCHO THUG. THE STORY CONCERNS SCHEIDERS"SEVEN-UPS UNIT"AND HIS "LONGTIME FRIEND"WHO IS KIDNAPPING/EXTORTING LOCAL MOB BOSSES. UNKNOWN TO SCHEIDER UNTIL ONE OF HIS PARTNERS IN THE UNIT GETs BEATEN UP AND LATER KNOCKED OFF TRAILING THE MOB AT A FUNERAL PARLOR RUN BY LO BIANCO. LOOKOUT! "WHEN THIS GUY STARTS LOOKING"... AFTER THIS ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE,LEADING TO ONE OF THE BEST CAR CHASE SCENES EVER!!!! FULL OF GREAT SCENES, HAUNTING SOUNDTRACK SCORE,SCARY MOBSTERS/THUGS,EXCELLENT NYC LOCATIONS AND BEYOND! LOOK FOR ACTOR JOE SPINELL AS THE "GARAGE GUY" AND BILL HICKMAN AS ANOTHER THUG NOTE: HICKMAN WAS ALSO A REAL LIFE STUNT/DRIVER AND WAS IN "BULLIT" AND THE "FRENCH CONNECTION" HE EVEN DROVE IN THIS MOVIE TOO! THIS IS A 1970s CLASSIC, DONT HESITATE TO PUT THIS IN YOUR VIDEO COLLECTION!"