Kidnap / Fatevi vivi: la polizia non interverrà (1974)

2.0 out of 5

Watch enough English dubs of Italian action films, and one will hear the same old voices again and again. But poliziotteschi expert Michael A. Martinez is right: done by a non-regular dubbing outfit, the looping will usually be grossly substandard. Such is the case with Kidnap which, despite the presence of Hollywood star Henry Silva, cheaps out on its English dubbing track, with dialogue poorly matching the lip movements and with secondary characters, the fat mafia henchman, the old geezer, etc, speaking in the most over-the-top cartoon voices.

The film is also relatively bereft of action which will mar the viewing experience for those expecting typical levels of Eurocrime thrills. Silva's character, a police detective working a kidnapping case involving a wealthy industrialist's daughter, is stuck behind a desk for too much of the film although the actor doesn't phone it in as he does with a similar precinct-bound role in Day of the Assassins. And although one of the kidnappers uses his motorbike in a clever way to rub out a potential squealer, he doesn't ever use that method again as expected, so it doesn't become a signature killing style. Finally, a climactic motorboat shootout seems to have been filmed with the cameras in some sort of water-proofing, and the lenses seemed as if they were unable to put the protective covering entirely out of focus.

The kidnapping storyline is mostly shopworn, but there are some nice twists nonetheless. Silva's character tries, by hook or by crook, to use the high-profile abduction case to bring down a mobster, Gabriele Ferzetti, no matter how tenuous the connection. Also compelling is the female kidnapper's relationship with the young girl, as the crook alternates between compassion and loathing for the victim, the latter emotion probably a defense mechanism. Otherwise, it's standard Eurocrime kidnapping fare, just light on the action and weak on the dubbing.

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