Directed by Umberto Lenzi. Starring Tomas Milian ("Giulio Sacchi"), Henry Silva ("Commissario Walter Grandi"), Laura Belli ("Marilu Porrino"), and Gino Santercole ("Vittorio"). Rated R.
Source: Region 0 DVD (NoShame)
Running time: 01:39:16
Picked by Matt-suzaka
A ruthless small-time criminal named Giulio goes on a killing spree, which attracts the attention of a hard-nosed inspector, played by Henry Silva. Tired of being broke and looking to make some quick cash, without much planning and with the help of his partners (one of whom is played by Ray Lovelock), Giulio eventually kidnaps the 20-something daughter of a local billionaire who Giulio's fuck-buddy (Anita Strindberg) works for as a secretary. ALMOST HUMAN goes back and forth between the police procedural aspect involving Silva's character and the Milan police and the whole kidnapping storyline involving Giulio and his lackeys. At a certain point, there's a brutal home invasion scene in which Giulio and his boys get high on drugs and do some rather creative things to their hostages.
Originally titled Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare (which, according to Babelfish, translates to Milan hates: the police cannot talk nonsense), ALMOST HUMAN is one of the more notorious Eurocrime movies to have come out of Italy, and it's well-known for its over the top performance from Tomas Milian as Giulio, who's one of the more recognizable names and faces of 70's Italian genre cinema.
Prior to finally watching ALMOST HUMAN, it had been on my radar for a while and I'd heard great things about it from sources who are much more familiar with the Eurocrime genre than myself. Not to get ahead of myself, but unfortunately it didn't quite live up to the hype for me. However, one of the things that always stood whenever I'd hear people talk about the film was how crazy Tomas Milian's was, and in that respect it definitely met my expectations. Before I go on, I should probably describe Milian's character in the film. Giulio is loud and obnoxious, but at the same time he's charismatic and very much an alpha male. To me, Giulio comes across as someone who's not all there mentally. I'd go so far as to say that he's mildly retarded, or at the very least suffering from sort of hyperactivity disorder, and this is partly due to Giulio's actions and Milan's scenery-chewing performance.
Admittedly, I found ALMOST HUMAN to be kinda boring. Story-wise it's very by-the-numbers, and it reminded me a lot of BEAST WITH A GUN, and despite not being all that crazy about BEAST, I actually prefer it to this film. While the scenes of violence in the film were impressive, there weren't enough of them to break up the monotony of everything else that was going on, and in general I thought the pacing was pretty bad. Henry Silva is good in the film and provides an interesting contrast to Tomas Milian's character, but the outcome of their "relationship" was pretty disappointing. You'd think that the film would build up to a considerably violent confrontation between the two because of the type of characters they are, but it's not the case. To use a pro-wrestling term, the blow-off was a bit lackluster.
Don't get me wrong, ALMOST HUMAN is good and it's considered to be a favorite of many fans of the genre, but I personally just found it to be disappointing for a number of reasons. It's shot really well and the acting is pretty good all across the board. As a fan of sleaze, the home invasion scene was a nice surprise and easily the highlight of the film for me. Otherwise, it just wasn't what I wanted it to (and hoped it would) be. With a stronger story, ALMOST HUMAN would have left a much better impression on me, but I'd still recommend it to those who are curious.