Perhaps this is called MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE. Perhaps it is called THE EXECUTIONER. Perhaps it should be called RACIST VANITY EXPLOITATION PROJECT. Whatever you name it, I watched it.
Seriously, though, I’m not sure what to call this movie. It was released sometimes as THE EXECUTIONER (that is what IMDB labels it as), though it was also released under the director’s preferred title MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE (which is what TCM aired it under). So call it what you will. I’m no expert on ’70s exploitation flicks. I’ve seen some, I’ve enjoyed some. This grindhouse movie is beloved by a cult following, though I am having a hard time figuring out why.
If we created a graph where the x axis was ‘ego’ and the y axis was ‘quality’ this movie might have the most disparate graph in the history of cinema. Never, perhaps, has a filmmaker made a worse film while stroking their own egoic phallus so fiercely.
Director Duke Mitchell also stars as a character named Mimi Miceli (which is real close to Mitchell’s real Italian name: Dominico Miceli). Mimi goes from Italy to Hollywood where he wants to take over the pimp game and kill people. He kills a lot of people. He kills women and men and friends and foes and random janitors. But he doesn’t kill a black kid because that would be mean. Alongside him is his buddy Jolly Rizzo (Vic Caesar). The film opens with one of their massacres, and then goes back in time to see how they got there.
This film turns out to be directorial masturbation taken to a grotesque level. Mitchell, 52 at the time, casts himself opposite a young woman who usually sits around topless. She loves him and can’t stand to be without him. She needs him, even if he seems to be nothing but a murderous dick.
Mitchell puffs his chest as if his form of masculinity is the only acceptable way to be. He takes time to give a monologue on having to change the original Italian spelling of names. He, in ultimate absurdity, has a monologue where he compares his film father to THE GODFATHER and talks about how terrible a film that was because the titular character was shown walking around with a cat. Here is Mitchell ‘acting’:
Meanwhile, in this crapfest, Mitchell has cast people who can’t act who have seemed to barely have memorized lines. A speech by the girlfriend about staying loyal is startling in its detachment from anything resembling ‘acting’ or ‘character’. I understand that independent film in the 70s was not the apex of quality, but this is mostly embarrassing. The film is blatantly racist, not indicting any of its characters for their abject hatred of black people. Instead, this sort of racism is looked at as acceptable because Sicilians get a bad rap too (the film explains that mafia is a bad word which is derogatory towards Sicilians).
The violence is terribly executed. It is amazing to see two people walking around a building, shooting a bunch of people, and then someone coming around the corner and being surprised when there were CLEARLY FUCKING GUNSHOTS BLASTING SECONDS AGO. The blood is fake looking. The one nice effect shot is literally frozen for five seconds mid movement so we get a good look at it (as if Mitchell wanted us to realize that they at least got one effect right).
MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE: You suck. I’m all for good exploitation cinema. This is not it.
FILM: 2; MOVIE: 5; ACTING: 1; WRITING: 3
FINAL SCORE: 2.75