• Meet Him And Die



    Released by: Raro Video
    Released on: April 1st, 2014.
    Director: Franco Prosperi
    Cast: Ray Lovelock, Elke Sommer
    Year: 1976
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    The Movie:

    1976's MEET HIM AND DIE is in many ways a perfect midlevel example of the Italian Poliziotteschi genre. It maintains the genre trademarks - long and intense action sequences of both the physical and vehicular type, a moderately nonsensical but complicated plot consisting of multiple double-crosses, and an absurd level of machismo. And a completely gratuitous sex scene of course.

    Ray Lovelock, the handsome blond supporting actor from the likes of Umberto Lenzi's ALMOST HUMAN here takes the starring role of Massimo. Massimo starts off in the film as a seemingly hapless thief. One of the central set pieces of MEET HIM AND DIE is a botched jewel store robbery that lands Massimo in an Italian jail. A strange sense of unreality sets in when we get to the slammer. Guards seem weirdly chummy with various prisoners. Said prisoners have wine served with dinner. Big time mobster Giulianelli (character actor legend Martin Balsam from PSYCHO) has a free hand in the clink. He's even organizing prisoner beatings as tests of loyalty to his syndicate. After proving himself in an unusually brutal prison yard Mano a Mano Massimo becomes a trusted ally to the mobster. From there we move on to a prison break and a complicated revenge plot.

    MEET HIM AND DIE is highly enjoyable but it doesn't operate on the level of a classic Eurocrime film like Fernando Di Leo's ITALIAN CONNECTION. The plotting isn't coherent enough and the pacing isn't fluid. The acting is quite strong however. Lovelock has a nice cocky swagger and Balsam is all pro. Beautiful Elke Sommer shows up to aid some plot machinations and deliver the obligatory (but in this case bizarrely shot and edited) sex scene as well. The action highlight of the film is a very inventive truck and motorcycle chase with excellent stunt work that echoes a similar triumph in Di Leo's ITALIAN CONNECTION. The film also has a very nice nihilistic edge to it with a good share of brutal and unpredictable deaths and firearm related mayhem. Lovelock, with his youthful looks and hip wardrobe is a fresh spin on the more usual world weary vibe of genre lynchpins like Franco Nero.

    The main flaws are an extremely abrupt ending and various massive plot holes. But the overall excitement carries the day. MEET HIM AND DIE delivers the goods more than adequately in every area that counts. Just don't go looking for anything approaching realism.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    This is a highly problematical transfer. The AVC 1.76.1 framed 1080p encode that Raro have offered up suffers from a few serious issues. Mosquito noise - a sort of lightly crawling grain - is visible quite often. This is possibly due to a scanning problem with the original elements. DNR and sharpening are visible. Skin tones tend heavily to the waxy. Detail is weak and smeary. The period cinematography is rife with soft focus shots which exacerbates these problems. Color representation is acceptable but this just isn't a film like transfer.

    The two audio tracks fare better than the video. Both 2.0 LPCM tracks in Italian and English are nicely rendered. The dubbing in the English track is about par for the era in quality and you do get Balsam's distinctive voice. There isn't a lot of oomph here but it sounds good and the music never hits the shrill zone.

    The only extra is a video introduction by genre expert and film documentarian Mike Malloy. Malloy runs us through a basic introduction to the Poliziotteschi and then spends a little time extolling the virtues of the film. It's an engaging and fun little chat. Malloy has also penned some nice liner notes that are included in the booklet with the Blu-ray.

    The Final Word:

    Not the best and not the worst of its type, Franco Prosperi's film is a fun watch and a strong example of the Eurocrime/Poliziotteschi picture. Despite Raro's weak transfer this will probably be something fans want to pick up especially considering the relative rarity of the title on home video.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!