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FABIO TESTI AND SAL BORGESE IN ITALIAN CRIME 'THE BIG RACKET'

Soundtrack displays fatale Marcella Michelangel for THE BIG RACKET Year: 1977 Rating: ***1/2

While nearly all gritty 1970's crime flicks are thematically modern westerns, Italian action auteur Enzo G. Castellari's THE BIG RACKET should have been one, literally: pitting cop Fabio Testi against a ferocious gang of ultra-violent thugs (spouting perhaps the worst dialogue ever): ferociously working for the director's stock-villain Joshua Sinclair...  

Initially raiding random businesses for the usual collecting of contrived protection money: but this central town is far too large, busy and downright modern (as in, not rural enough) for such a formidably contained takeover to seem logical or realistic, ironically making this RACKET a b-movie that actually spent too much money for its own good... 

Sal Borgese  and Fabio Testi in THE BIG RACKET

Meanwhile Fabio Testi, an Italian tough guy actor/sex-symbol (again sublimely dubbed by STAR TREK icon Michael Forest), has to out-toughen those perfect, pretty looks: yet hardly ever alone, given a co-starring partner whether it's British David Hemmings in the same director's following year's (and far superior) THE HEROIN BUSTERS or previously traipsing alongside Oliver Reed in Sergio Sollima's REVOLVER...

Here his detective partner is actually a superior action hero in the proficiently karate-chopping, mustached actor/stuntman Sal Borgese, who, unfortunately, in the DIRTY HARRY fashion... specifically THE ENFORCER involving a similar marauding gang that includes a sexy lethal fatale...  becomes a inevitably/predictably dead partner... 

Fabio Testi in THE BIG RACKET

Albeit quickly replaced by a resilient con-man sidekick in DEATH WISH veteran-actor Vincent Gardenia, whose otherwise distinguished, recognizable voice is horribly dubbed by someone sounding like a bad soap opera star…

And so, ultimately, following the rudimentary gun-blasting, knife-wielding, glass-shattering storefront raids... including the unnecessary rape of a storekeeper's preteen daughter... THE BIG RACKET throws around too many subplots for the good of both the audience and leading man: at one point neither quite sure of who exactly's being battled — or why. 

Joshua Sinclair in THE BIG RACKET
Giovanni Cianfriglia in THE BIG RACKET
Sal Borgese in THE BIG RACKET
Fabio Testi in THE BIG RACKET
Giovanni Cianfriglia and Marcella Michelangeli in THE BIG RACKET
Stefania Girolami Goodwin in THE BIG RACKET
Marcella Michelangeli in THE BIG RACKET
From THE BIG RACKET
Lobby Card from THE BIG RACKET
Lobby Card from THE BIG RACKET
Lobby Card from THE BIG RACKET
Vincent Gardinia Lobby Card from THE BIG RACKET
Marcella Michelangeli Lobby Card from THE BIG RACKET
Lobby Card from THE BIG RACKET
Poster from THE BIG RACKET
Sal Borgese  and Fabio Testi in THE BIG RACKET
Director's daughter Stefania Girolami Goodwin in dad's The Heroin Busters and The Big Racket
Director's daughter Stefania Girolami Goodwin in THE BIG RACKET
Giovanni Cianfriglia in THE BIG RACKET
Giovanni Cianfriglia in THE BIG RACKET
Giovanni Cianfriglia in THE BIG RACKET
Roberto Dell'Acqua with Renzo Palmer and Giovanni Cianfriglia in THE BIG RACKET
Fabio Testi in THE BIG RACKET

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