Cynic, the Rat and the Fist, The / Il cinico, l'infame, il violento (1977)

3.5 out of 5

Umberto Lenzi serves up another great lumpen-headed actioner, low on brain cells but rich in tough talk, punch ups, gunfights and sadism. Reprising his role from Rome Armed to the Teeth, medallion man Maurizio Merli returns as Leonardo Tanzi, along with Tomas Milian, this time as a laid back psycho inexplicably nicknamed 'The Chinaman'. John Saxon also comes to the party as ruthless American mobster DiMaggio, who uses anyone who double-crosses him for golf practice. Before feeding them to his dogs, that is.

Unreconstructed masculinity runs riot as Tanzi plays one underworld sleazebag off another in a manner vaguely reminiscent of that seen in A Fistful of Dollars, although the title seems to hark back to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Don't expect anything of that film's epic sweep here but do expect a fun movie carried along nicely by the aforementioned triumvirate of Eurocrime legends and a great supporting cast that includes Big Racket star Renzo Palmer and Lenzi mainstay Guido Alberti as Tanzi's uncle. While it comes off poorly in comparison to Lenzi's earlier Milian masterpiece, Almost Human, The Cynic is nonetheless a fine slice of hard boiled poliziotteschi goodness.

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