Friday, March 24, 2017

Gun-Toting Street Punk Psychos

First of all Edd China leaves Wheeler Dealers, then, today, I hear that Tomas Milian has died.  What a week!  Oh yes, there was that terror attack in London, as well.  The one carried out by the 'middle aged terrorist' as some of the press have described him.  I really do object to the idea implicit in their ageist coverage that people over the age of forty are incapable of doing stuff like organising and carrying out terror attacks.  Why should terrorism be a young man's game, eh?  Surely the more mature approach to murder and mayhem an older guy would bring to such outrages would be a distinct advantage compared to to the hot headed impetuousness of youth?  But I digress, let's get back to Tomas Milian.  For those not familiar with his work, Milian was a Cuban born actor whose career began back in the sixties, when he played character roles in a number of Hollywood movies.  But he is best remembered now for his many appearances in Italian genre movies from the mid-sixties onward.  His career came full circle when he returned to the US and played character roles in films like JFK and Traffic.

Although his Italian sojourn encompassed roles in multiple genres including westerns and comedies, I'm most familiar with his appearances in crime movies, where he frequently - and memorably - played complete scumbags.  His performances in these roles are truly remarkable: energetic, charismatic he avoids the usual cliches of the crazed, eye-rolling psychopath, portraying instead characters with comprehensible motivations who are running completely out of control.  Perhaps the pinnacle of his psycho-killer career was 1974's Almost Human, an incredibly nihilistic crime drama in which he plays a street punk on the make who harnesses his inherent ruthlessness and lack of regard for even his own life, to try and climb the criminal ladder.  I really must watch it again.  I don't think I can pay Milian any greater compliment that to say that whenever I see his name in cast list for an Italian crime movie, I know that I'm in for a wild and entertaining ride.  If you haven't seen one of his gun-toting performances, I'd urge you to go out and buy or rent one of his crime movies right now.  



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