Thursday, April 3, 2008


This 1973 Italian exploitation effort stars Robert Mitchum’s son Chris in the title role as RICCO THE MEAN MACHINE, a young punk just released from prison and out for revenge against the gangster who murdered his father, the powerful crimeboss known as Don Vito (Arthur Kennedy).

RICCO (also known as CAULDRON OF DEATH) is a tedious, plodding, "inaction" film with little to recommend it aside from the bountiful charms of frequently naked Euro-vixens Barbara Bouchet and Malisa Longo. The only other point of interest in the entire movie is a surprisingly graphic shock sequence wherein a bunch of gangsters cut off a man’s genitalia and stuff them in his mouth before dumping him into a vat of acid. It looks fake as hell, but at least it’s memorable.

I found Mitchum remarkably uninteresting and unconvincing in the role, and had a hard time staying awake during the flick's 90 minute running time. Still, some fans of Euro-crime films seem to see something more in the movie, and rate it rather highly. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Dark Sky Films have put together a nice package for this rather undeserving film, with a remarkably clean 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and an on-screen interview with star Chris Mitchum, who discusses his exploitation acting career and working in the shadow of his super-star father.

Not a great movie in my opinion, but Dark Sky steps up with another high quality DVD. (I love the cover art!) Recommended only for fans of the film – if there are any – and aficionados of Euro-starlet skin.

BUY: Ricco the Mean Machine