Boxer, The / Un uomo dalla pelle dura (1972)

2.5 out of 5

Hungarian born cinematographer the award winning Gábor Pogány, a name associated with Late Night Trains, provides some occasional flashes of sheer brilliance in this shock cut free boxing themed crime thriller from not the Mondo Cane co-director Franco Prosperi but a namesake. Pogány, who had been making film since the fascist era, is the true star of The Boxer as the film looks great.

The story, a clear influence on Pulp Fiction, sees a boxer getting into trouble with mobsters after failing to throw a fight.

Social commentary regarding Vietnam is evident and the counterculture is turned on its head as a hippy played by Tomas Milian is a killer despite making peace signs and a returning veteran is a misunderstood hero.

Former child star Robert Blake is pretty good as the eponymous boxer and genre favourite and Mister Airwolf, Ernest Borgnine, is endearing as a Columbo style cop who gets to provide some of the lighter moments.

An unfortunate wrestler versus boxer fight is a bit needless and contrived but the rest is a passable thriller. The film is mostly harmless if occasionally a wee bit pedestrian.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics