|The Manhunt (1975)|
|Writers:||Umberto Lenzi, Dardano Sacchetti|
|Starring:||Henry Silva, Luciana Paluzzi and Silvano Tranquilli|
|The Plot: Our film begins with a group of robbers entering a jewelry store and pulling a heist. In the midst of the confusion and the violence, David Vanucchi (Henry Silva)’s daughter is shot by this group of psychopaths. The only thing that Vanucchi’s daughter can muster before her death is that she saw the “Scorpion”. Vanucchi and the police are baffled by the statement and are left with no other clues as to who could have committed such a heinous crime. Vanucchi, feeling abandoned by a system that allowed these criminals to kill his daughter in the first place, begins his own investigation into the criminal underground. He is persistently told to stay out of it by the police detective who is handling the case, but his own quest for vengeance will not be appeased. Will he find the men responsible or will he destroy his own life in the process?|
The Manhunt takes a similar vantage point that the previously mentioned titles did, with the police force made up of either idiots or criminals, and instead asks where the concept of vigilantism ends. Most of the really interesting points, where these questions are asked directly, come about during the final third of the movie so unfortunately that means there is a lot of ‘filler’ thrown around in the mid-section. During this section of the film we are lucky in the fact that Henry Silva is our leading man, as he is always a commanding performer. It isn’t until the final third, however, that I think the film has any chance of being really solid. Lenzi takes vigilantism and presents it in a necessary light, at least during the first half of the movie, but as things begin to escalate we see that while men are fallible then no body of governance can truly be perfect. I don’t think Lenzi excuses the corruption of the Italian government, but instead poses questions from every side of the equation and shows that nothing is perfect. Ultimately, grief, anger and paranoia do not prove to be adequate means in determining order and judging death sentences.
The Manhunt shows Silva at his most brutal, as he wanders from one action set piece to another. In the midst of his investigation we get to see him slap around a transvestite prostitute, whilst yelling “YOU LYING FAGGOT!” which seems shocking by today’s standards but was relatively run of the mill in those times. Silva is shown at this point as being no better than the men he attempts to chase, as he beats and attempts to drown the transvestite we are eventually shown a book-end sequence that shows this gang lead by the Scorpion doing the same thing to the same transvestite in an attempt to also extract information. The homophobic verbal abuse is also continued, so if that sort of thing bothers you then prepare yourself because it gets fairly vicious.