Reviewed byCoventryVote: 7/10
"Gang Wars in Milan" is Umberto Lenzi's worthwhile and compelling imitation of "The Godfather" ? in Italy during the 1970's this type of films got labeled as the "Poliziottesco" ? about the rivalry and battle between Sicilian pimps and French drug dealers. The drug barons are putting severe pressure on the sly and sleazy Salvatore "Toto" Cangemi, who practically has a monopoly over the prostitution network in Milan, to have his hookers sell heroin. The greedy French wolves also demand 70% of the profit, so you can image Toto refuses. The "negotiations" rapidly run out of hand, with some car-bombs left, some drug labs getting destroyed right and a handful of prostitutes being mutilated center, and gradually escalate into a devastating gang war. So, basically, what I've learned from this film is the actual definition of a mafia partnership: they start a war over 20% and when they finally do reach an agreement, all they do is double-crossing each other! "Milano Rovente" isn't the most spectacular of Italian crime epics of the 70's, as there are reasonably few car chases and violent shootouts on display, but it's nevertheless a solidly scripted and professionally acted atmosphere-driven thriller. There are some excellent plot twists to keep you interested throughout and the bit of cruelty (especially towards women) are quite hard to stomach. The film may lack some essential Poliziottesco aspects, like a dazzling soundtrack and ultra-psychopathic characters, but it was definitely a terrific predecessor to Umberto Lenzi's ultimate crime masterpiece "Almost Human".
Reviewed byProf-Hieronymos-GrostVote: 7/10
Salvatore "Toto" Cangemi(Antonio Sabato) is a sicilian who has made it big in Milan as a crime boss, his area being prostitution. He is approached by a French crime boss know as "Le Capitaine" he wants to go into business with Toto using his hookers to sell his drugs, only problem is the French aren't giving Toto much of an option. He decides against it and this leads to a big gang war, with tit for tat killings and Toto's hooker being beaten and kidnapped. Toto's second in command Lino Carruzzi, proposes getting his American crime boss uncle "Billy Barone" involved, Toto has little option but to agree in order to save his business. Highly un pc film, that denigrates women all over the place, promotes racial stereotypes and its also homophobic, despite this its an entertaining ride, there's even time for Toto to have some liaisons with the mysterious Jasmine (?.but underused Marisa Mell). The violence is as you'd expect with Lenzi quite violent with breast slashings galore and even some genital electrocution?nice! Carlo Rustichelli's jazzy score is nice but a little overused.
Reviewed byWitchfinder General 666Vote: 7/10
Along with Fernando Di Leo (and Damiano Damiani, whose films are different and more sophisticated), the great Umberto Lenzi, master of many Italian cult-genres, is the undisputed king of the Poliziotteschi/Italian Crime genre. While his 1973 mob war film "Milano Rovente" aka. "Gang War in Milan" does not reach the greatness of some of his later genre achievements (above all the masterpiece "Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare" aka. "Almost Human"/"The Kidnap of Mary Lou" of 1974), this is yet another gritty, hard-boiled and very entertaining flick that should not be missed by genre-fans.
Milan is the setting of a brutal and merciless war between Sicilian pimps lead by Salvatore 'Toto' Cangemi (Antonio Sabato) and the French drug mafia lead by the ruthless Roger Daverty (Phillippe Leroy). When the French attempt to violently force Toto into making his prostitutes deal with heroin, his violent response leads to a chain-reaction of brutalities...
Antonio Sabato isn't one of the greatest leading-men in Italian genre-cinema (and nowhere near as charismatic as other Lenzi-regulars, such as Tomas Milian, Henry Silva or Maurizio Merli). However, the role of the tough-minded Sicilian pimp suits him well, Toto is probably the most fitting role I have seen Sabato in so far. Philippe Leroy ("Milano Calibro 9", "Femina Ridens",...) is great for sinister, sleazy and villainous roles, and he therefore fits very well in his role here. The female cast members are entirely nice to look at. The beautiful Marisa Mell is great as always in her femme fatale role, and the relatively unknown Carla Romanelli makes a beautiful and good second female lead. The supporting cast includes the usual tough-guy faces that can be seen in all of Lenzi's crime flicks (Vittorio Pinelli, Tony Raccosta, etc.) The film is not quite as action-packed as Lenzi's following Poliziotteschi, but there is enough action and grit, and a variety of brutalities (the gruesome highlights being a nasty torture scene and the brutal treatment of the prostitutes by both sides of the war). The general treatment of women in the film is as misogynist as usual for the time, country and genre. The cinematography is great as in all Lenzi films. Carlo Rustichelli's jazzy score is cool enough, but not as captivating and adrenaline evoking as the scores to later Lenzi crime flicks (by Ennio Moricone or Franco Micalizzi). The fact that everybody in the film is a dirt-bag, and the lack of a truly diabolical villain (as Tomas Milian's Giulio Sacchi in "Milano Odia"), make the suspense level little less intense. Then again, a mob war should be dirt-bags vs. dirt-bags.
Overall, "Milano Rovente" is not as essential as Lenzi's later crime-highlights "Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare" (1974), "Roma A Mano Armata" (1976), "Napoli Violenta" (1976) or "Il Cinico, L'Infame", Il Violento" (1977). However, it is definitely a highly recommendable film to genre fans, and arguably the basis of Lenzi's later status as the king of Poliziotteschi. 7.5/10
Salvator Cangemi is a produce purveyor in Milan, Italy, who moonlights as a pimp and runs a profitable nightclub. But the appearance of a ruthless and greedy French gangster called Le Capitaine threatens Toto's livelihood when Le Capitaine wants to unite the organized crime in Milian in order to get all of the profits. But Toto wants no part of Le Capitaine's organization and wants to continue running his own ring in a low-key way. But no one says "no" to Le Capitaine and he threatens an all-out war to keep his organized crime ring, and reputation, intact.