See, now this is my poison: Revenge Movies.
There are barely any revenge movies that I don’t find some sort of pleasure from, and call me a sadistic bastard all ye want, fair reader, but I dig revenge fiction. There’s no more of a raw human emotion than revenge and the lust for vengeance.
“Ricco the Mean Machine,” aside from having one of the best titles I’ve ever heard, is also a grizzly revenge picture that is every bit as nonsensical and unusual as you’d expect, but that’s a bit of a compliment in this regard. It’s rare you can see a movie where two thugs are driving on a road and get a strip tease by a stranded woman who straddles the hood.
It’s every bit as exploitative, sleazy and weird as you’d expect from a movie made in 1973, and that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much. Demicheli’s action thriller is very unlike what you’d expect from a revenge movie.
Its hero is out for blood but not because of the reasons you’d expect. Ricco is released from prison to discover that his mob boss father was killed, but upon this discovery he really holds not malice about it. He just seeks to go about his business and make some money, but as time wears on he’s manipulated by his mother to seek vengeance, not to mention his gorgeous girlfriend sleeps with a rival don, and soon Ricco seeks revenge in gruesome methods.
Demicheli’s picture is a deliberately paced thriller with a rather engrossing story that works mainly because of the strong score, and the interesting methods of murder Ricco and his enemies engage in. There’s a wonderful scene where a man has his penis cut off, and shoved into his mouth. Not to mention our main antagonist Vito has a large vat of acid nearby he dunks his traitors and victims in. That’s convenience, for you.
“Ricco” is a wacky little revenge entry that you can only expect from the Italians, and Ricco’s primary purpose as a manipulated man who doesn’t truly believe revenge is a must is sold by Christopher Mitchum’s solid performance as the merciless thug who manages to outwit and outmatch many of the hoods he comes across. But with all due respect to Mitchum, the film’s primary reasoning for being such a worthy title is the women.
Particularly there’s Malisa Longo who is without a doubt one of the most beautiful women who ever lived with a fantastic body, and a memorable role as Ricco’s traitorous wench of a girlfriend who will latch on to anyone who can grant her an upperhand. There’s also Barbara Bouchet who is great as Ricco’s partner who attempts to talk some sense into him as their relationship blossoms.
“Ricco the Mean Machine” is trash, but trash you can feel good about watching, and it’s a great restoration from Dark Sky who unleashes the uncut and uncensored carnage in DVD glee. Among the features is the fourteen minute interview with star Christopher Mitchum who frankly admits that he never wanted to be an actor because of his father Robert’s woes as a celebrity. Mitchum is delightfully cynical and frank about his life and career, and though the only feature, it’s a good one.