Friday, March 27

The Last Mercenary (1983)

A.K.A. Rolf
Directed by Mario Siciliano
89 Minutes / Mogul Communications / Cropped from 2.35:1 to full screen

Yep, I think I've reached the true underbelly of Italian genre cinema with this one. Rolf (Antonio Marsina) is a troubled man. Problems with his girlfriend, job (or lack there of), and pesky old war buddies that now trade in the cocaine business. Eventually the gang takes everything from Rolf after he resists joining them. Now the man with the stupidest name in mankind's history is sent kicking and screaming towards only one option--revenge.

I gotta look it up to be sure, but "Rolf" must mean "pussy" in Italian. This guy is the most ineffective candy-ass action hero I've ever seen. For example in one sequence he's beaten up on a forested trail by the coke dealers. After meekly trying to get up and get into his jeep; he just gives up and falls into a shallow marsh filled with leeches (oh my!). Hours later it's now night, he awakens, and finally his girlfriend arrives to save him. Every little thing seems to drag him down into the dumps...and this is our hero.

It's also tough to root for such an aimless sack of shit. Rolf doesn't seem to work (and perhaps never has) and merely lives off his bartender girlfriend. The character is just "there" bouncing about the wafer-thin plot moping around like a bitch who seems annoyed to take any action against even the most horrid injustices towards him. There's also an absolutely preposterous attempt at a Christ metaphor after he gets his palms shot up.

Even the exploitative elements tossed in can't save it. We get drug overdoses, literal shitty fingerprinting, gang rape, stove fire face burning, wooden spike traps, and target practice with children at the end of the barrel. The most left field of these is when Rolf finds a crate of coke on a plane, has a flashback of his mother's fatal dose, and proceeds to piss on the china white and then send it airborne. That's about the only thing remotely amusing. The loose anti-climatic conclusion will most likely make you more pissed off over the waste of brain cells and time.

Fabio Frizzi heads up the score and you can definitely tell. Low rent jazzy guitar twangs complete with an actual Rolf theme song. "Rolf....you're following a path that lllleeeaaadds to paaaaiiiiinnnnn!"....and you will too if you even think of spending over $5 on this. At least the cover art is cool, this is for ultra diehard Italian action fanatics who must see everything and Mogul VHS completists only.

Film: 2/10
VHS Picture: 4/10
VHS Sound: 3/10

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