Saturday, August 14, 2010
COMMANDO LEOPARD (1985)
I watched this Antonio Margheriti action flick the other night and was stunned by how damned good it was. Not that Mr. Dawson doesn't usually entertain the hell out of me but this sucker rocked more than I expected. Tight, well structured and strongly cast it moves along at a good clip but never feels rushed. There is a lot of story and some good characters that I actually began to care about so that the ending had a real effect on me.
Of course, Margheriti always brings the action chops to bear in these movies with every battle being suspenseful and exciting. This apparently had a good sized budget and it really shows in the well staged gunfights and action set pieces. The usual Margheriti use of very good miniatures is in evidence and are better than average even though I think they are always pretty damned good. The explosive destruction of a fuel train is absolutely fantastic and a highlight. Margheriti knew how to stage, light and coordinate scenes to take maximum advantage of his old style special effects and personally I prefer such work to the stiff plastic CGI we are used to today.
This was the second of three action movies Margheriti made with British actor Lewis Collins. He's a very good as the hero with the great Klaus Kinski digging his talons into the main villain role. If I had a disappointment with the film it would be that these two never have a climactic clash but the end Kinski's character meets is far too satisfying to seriously complain. Hell! The movie even has the Italian Peter Lorre in a prominent role and any film with Luciano Pigozzi is worth a look!