Nanni (Helmut Burger), a crazed criminal, escapes prison and goes after the men that put him there, taking one of their wives, Guiliana (Marisa Mell), as a consolation prize in the process. Forced to be his lover and accomplice, the woman bravely tries to turn the tables on him as the cops are ever closing in. But can she ever truly escape him?
Helmut returns after his turn in the 1971 giallo The Bloodstained Butterfly, with director Sergio Greico’s action thrill-ride of crime and chaos as the cruel madman, Nanni Vitali. He’s one mean bastard. He likes his guns. He likes his rape. So twisted is his character that one particular scene of torture and murder reflects the brazen viciousness of Nico Mastorakis’ psychotic rampage that is 1976’s Island of Death.
Standout kill scenes aside, the action here is a little dated. The punch-up scenes from movies of this time are just as hammy as any 60s Batman episode. On the upside these kinds of silly shenanigans can catch you off guard and set you up for a nice and nasty surprise when the real violence gets going. And you know them Italians. They take it to the Nth degree every time.
Needless to say No.16 in 88’s Italiano range is nowhere near as light-hearted as Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man (1976). And Nanni & Guiliana are hardly the next Adam & Eve of 1977’s Hitch-Hike. But I do like what Mad Dog has in common with No.24, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985). Both movies shake things up. They change the game in the final stretch. While Massacre’s Kevin and Eva go from cannibal chow to diamond trade sex slaves, the unfortunate Guiliana switches from being the hostage to being the hunted. Like going out of the frying pan and into the fire, but in reverse. Kinda…
It took a little while, but it’s cool to see a more straight-faced poliziotteschi in the bunch, even if it is a bit mean-spirited in parts.