Film #243: THE ITALIAN CONNECTION aka LA MALA ORDINA
The Italian Connection (aka La Mala Ordina)
3 out of 5 stars
THE ITALIAN CONNECTION is the story of small-time pimp, Mario Adorf (THE TIN DRUM), who gets blamed for the loss of a shipment of heroin. A local crime boss (Adolfo Celi from THUNDERBALL, VON RYAN’S EXPRESS, DANGER DIABOLIK) gets involved and things escalate with the introduction of two American hit men: Henry Silva (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, ABOVE THE LAW) and Woody Strode (THE PROFESSIONALS, SPARTACUS, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST). The confused pimp (he truly has no idea why he’s being pursued) runs around Milan being double-crossed by everyone he encounters. Director Fernando Di Leo (ASYLUM EROTICA, CALIBER 9, MR. SCARFACE) does a great job with the action and with capturing the look and feel of 1972 Milan even though the plot is fairly straightforward. The big surprise in all of this is how great a job Mario Adorf does as the scared pimp. The rest of the cast (Silva and Strode included) are a little stilted and Celi does what Celi does best: growl and look menacing. The film’s score is groovy, but they do over use one particular song to the point of annoyance. All in all, THE ITALIAN CONNECTION is a solid crime thriller with a good cast (particularly Adorf), an engaging story, and some great action. Recommended to poliziotteschi fans, appreciators of '70s crime cinema, and to anyone looking for a good shoot-em-up.