Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Messenger

The Action Mutant…
predicts a reunion show…Scott Baio is 72 and s!@%*&#n his pants!

The Messenger

review by Joe Burrows

Two years after his initial success in 1973’s Black Caesar, Fred Williamson appeared in his first Italian made film (the Western Take a Hard Ride, for trivia buffs). Over the next 15 years, Williamson would make plenty of low budget, Italian produced Actioners. Most were…well, bad but some of those films made the bad ones look like The Godfather by comparison. And then, there were even some that made the really bad ones look like The Godfather by comparison. Hence…The Messenger!

The Plot, as it was:
Our man Fred plays Jake Sebastian Turner, an all around badass that has just been released from prison and into the loving arms of his woman Sabrina (Sandy Cummings). As they leave a high society party, Sabrina’s gunned down by mobsters that she was connected to through a mob drug ring. Turner decides to take an offer from a millionaire to take out all of the mobsters responsible for the death of Sabrina and the millionaire’s son, who was also murdered by the mob. Turner travels the big cities of America to do his dirty work; all while being tailed by a weary police captain (AM favorite Cameron Mitchell) and a gung ho FBI agent (Chris Connelly).

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
How do I put this eloquently? This movie is so shitty, it’s an insult to other shitty movies to call this movie shitty in the first place. Everything’s irreparable here…directing, acting, dialogue, etc. Even the action (while plentiful and bloody) is awkwardly done, as it is often confusing and rife with dying actors clearly breathing as they are supposedly dead. The editing looks like it was done by someone swinging a hatchet at random points in the film. And the music (supposedly “arranged” by William Stuckey) keeps this film looking and sounding like it was made ten years before and it keeps playing long after it should have stopped in a scene. Unfortunately, most of the blame rests on Mr. Tough Guy Williamson himself. He directs, stars and has story credit (yet it took three other writers to pound this out) so this basically resembles a vanity production with a cracked mirror. Don’t get me wrong, there are some funny moments coming from the unintentional side and it’s not like the film’s ever boring. Some of the actors even seem like they’re having fun with their slight roles. Cam Mitchell hams it up as usual (but not embarrassingly) as Captain Carter and Joe Spinell (looking like he ate every cannoli off of the catering table) is his usual slimy self as mob boss Rico. But that’s not enough to make this anything more than a trashy, amateurish time killer with very few redeeming qualities.

Body Count/Violence: 31. Fred sends his message of violence via gunfire, grenades, kung fu, pistol whipping and neck breaking. There’s also a shotgun blast to someone’s head, car explosions and abuse towards women as well.

Sexuality/Nudity: Williamson and Cummings have a prolonged sex scene near the start, which is there to show some female flesh and prove that Fred looks pretty good at 48. Rita Silva has her top ripped off during an assault scene, which doesn’t prove to be pleasant to watch. Suzanne Von Schaack (as a mob wife) is in skimpy lingerie half the time, as it showcases her lovely behind.

Language/Dialogue: Only strong on occasion.

How bad was it?:
Though no reviews are available, the viewer feedback speaks for itself. This is pretty horrible, even by the standards of Williamson’s Italian projects.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
The Messenger was produced by Williamson’s Po’ Boy Productions and Realtà Cinematografica and released in Italy in December of 1986. Snizzlefritz (I’m not joking) and Starlight distributed it in America, as it debuted on 4/24/87. No box office or budget records are known. It is available on video only through MGM’s Soul Cinema label.

Film: */*****
Entertainment value: **1/2/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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