The first review of Leandro Lucchetti films this week comes from TOUGH TO KILL – THE ITALIAN ACTION EXPLOSION, though I’ve given the write up a little tweaking and found that watching it close to the other LL films had me focused much more on the trashy knife wielding than the action sequences I was looking for back when this was first written. A solid action flick that features the prolific eurotrash star George Ardisson in a small role for the scuzz film librarian in all of us.
GETTING EVEN / LA VENDETTA
1988- A.M. Trading Intl. Film
Directed by Leandro Lucchetti
With: Harrison Muller, Michael Aronin, Richard Roundtree
“Through the refugee camp, there is no one guarding it… so we can take our pick of weapons!”
Sleaze master Lucchetti contributed some vintage Eurotrash with his women in prison film…. but that did not mean he couldn’t do more. Getting Even is an aptly titled film as we meet Evans, a grubby and heroic Harrison Muller Jr. in full homeless Vet mode, beating down some rapist thugs. Instead of cheers however, he ends up with a gut full of bullets instead of thanks and maybe even a little kiss on the cheek. Where is his parade? While he lies twitching in his hospital bed, he flashes back to his tour of duty in Vietnam, hastily catching up with someone he is about to go after again. A premonition? Nope, but it sure helps us figure out what is going on after this…
As part of a three man platoon, he finds himself blowing up everything they see in the name of action, but the sex n’ violence habits of sociopathic Slisco, played with knife wielding and bug eyed aplomb by Micheal Aronin, are really not to his liking. Seems Slisco likes to carve up hookers with his trusty kris blade-a Lucchetti specialty. Slisco gets an opportunity for Evan’s busting him while on a mission Evans is trying to bring his wounded friend home. Slisco double crosses him and leaves him in Vietnam, where he stays in a P.O.W. camp for five years… begging to die. But of course, Evans pulls through and makes it home to sleep under bridges. Flashbacks finished, Richard Roundtree appears as the pairs old C.O., now working to find a serial killer which he believes to be Evans’ old pal Slisco. More women are dying under the knife and even though it’s been a long time, he believes it must be the same rogue commando.
And now Slisco is an arms dealer to boot! A lot of combat ensues with gunfights and fisticuffs in a gym, with a funky twist ending to enliven things in the final reel.
While Getting Even is a solid action film, it manages to distinguish itself by slipping a few bonus genres into play. It’s Vietnam action, no…it’s a cop film with a Ripper twist, but wait, gritty urban violence abounds as well! Getting Even all adds up to an extra trashy treat for 93 minutes. Lucchetti’s sleaze adept hand adds a bit of rough around the edges nudity and sadism to what is sold as a “stuff blows up while Shaft shoots bad guys” film-and this is jarring and unusual enough to be memorable as well.
Harrison Muller Jr. is his usual self, though he always appears a bit too thin and weedy to be the ass kicker he portrays on screen. But you can count on him to deliver his performance well, especially in the flashback scenes where he rants up a storm. Aronin plays Slisco to the hilt (of his knife) here, terrorizing the ladies and looking greasy. Look for Ottaviano Dell’Acqua in a George Hilton type role, and it’s great to see this welcome face get a last laugh or two. Richard Roundtree, a main selling point, dials in a standard sub-standard performance. His best sequences are mostly pick up shots as he is spliced into one action scene which contains footage from the same producer’s film The Violent Breed. If you like Harrison Muller shooting gas cans in one film, then you’ll love it in two. The Man Who Was Shaft certainly should stay away from rocket launchers as he looks terrified waiting to fire it into said stock footage. Leandro Lucchetti scores big with this urban gun and fist tale, with a half scoop of Vietnam action to make the package complete.